NORMAN — Jordan Woodard smiled Sunday at the thought of facing Oklahoma State for the first time as a Sooner.
“It's just another game to me. I don't have anything against..” Woodard said before backtracking a bit on both counts. “Well, I really don't like Oklahoma State too much, but it's going to be fun to play against them in my first Bedlam game.”
It's easier for Woodard to smile after the kind of performance he had Saturday against Texas Tech.
Against the Red Raiders, the freshman point guard hit the first shot he attempted, and things rolled from there, both for Woodard and the Sooners.
“We needed that, and he needed that,” Sooners coach Lon Kruger said. “He prepared a little bit differently the last three or four days. It's a little more of a learning process.”
The lesson has been in treating practice with a bit more sense of urgency and using it as a platform for competition instead of just preparation for competition.
“He's come out with the urgency of every possession and come to practice to try to compete to win battles in practice, not just work to prepare for the game but work to win battles today,” Kruger said. “I think he realized that he's got to do that. If he's not winning battles in practice, he can't expect to win battles in a game. Just tried to get him to focus on the significance of each possession in practice.”
Woodard wasn't necessarily expecting the breakout performance Saturday, even though he was practicing better.
“It's just something that came to be during the game,” Woodard said. “I hit that first shot and got another open look at the second shot, and I just wanted to keep taking good shots. I didn't want to force anything.”
With Oklahoma State leading the Big 12 in turnover margin and coming up with more steals than anyone in the conference, another solid performance by Woodard figures to be necessary if the Sooners are to beat the Cowboys on Monday.