The one constant for Oklahoma during non-conference play was the Sooners' dominant rebounding numbers. OU ranked among the national leaders in rebounding.
In an 87-49 loss to Missouri Tuesday night in a Big 12 opener, the Tigers outrebounded OU 38-23.
Mizzou limited the Sooners to seven offensive rebounds. And three of those came in the waning minutes.
“We got dominated pretty much in every area,” said OU coach Lon Kruger. “(Rebounding) for sure.”
FITZGERALD THE ONLY BRIGHT SPOT
While Missouri was scoring with ease the entire game, every Sooner except forward Andrew Fitzgerald struggled offensively.
Fitzgerald was 8-of-15 from the field. The rest of the team shot 25.6 percent.
OU's ball movement wasn't good. Too many times the Sooners settled for jump shots.
“We need to get back to practice, work even harder and clean up areas that need cleaning up,” said forward Romero Osby. “We have to go back to the drawing board.”
PLEDGER MATCHES SEASON LOW
Shooting guard Steven Pledger entered the conference opener second in the league in scoring, averaging close to 20 points.
Against Missouri, Pledger matched his season-low (11 points). Most of Pledger's production was in the waning minutes after the Tigers had built a 42-point lead.
“I need to be a lot more aggressive and pick and choose my spots more,” Pledger said.
The Sooners face another nationally ranked opponent in their Big 12 home opener, hosting Kansas Saturday afternoon.
“We suffered a loss. It was a big number,” said point guard Sam Grooms. “But I don't think we'll lose any confidence. Even the best teams lose. It takes a game like this that hits you in the mouth to really make you think what we need to do to get better.”
With Missouri leaving for the SEC the Sooners might never win a game at Mizzou Arena. OU is 0-5 in the new arena built seven years ago. The Sooners last win in Columbia was in 2001 on a Jameel Heywood buzzer-beater... In a matchup of the top two 3-point shooting teams in the conference, Missouri hit 12-of-21 shots beyond the arc. The Sooners were 3-of-11... Missouri owned a 36-10 in-the-paint points edge and a 17-2 advantage in bench scoring. Carl Blair's two free throws were the only points OU got from its bench. Tyler Neal went scoreless for the first time all season.