OU basketball: Sooners still looking for a defense that works

Man-to-man defense has been a big part of coach Lon Kruger's teams, but this season he's tried just about everything to improve OU. The Sooners will get a big test at 11 a.m. Saturday against unbeaten Iowa State.
by Ryan Aber Published: January 10, 2014

While that margin is tight, there's a wide gap in the teams' defensive ratings, with the Cyclones No. 23 in the country and Oklahoma No. 183.

The answer is simple to freshman point guard Jordan Woodard.

“It's just the effort,” Woodard said. “We've got to hunker down. Every possession has got to mean more to us. We get relaxed sometimes on defense and in the Big 12, you're going to get attacked if you relax.”

Both Kruger and some players said that it's been hard for the team to focus on defense, even through struggles, because of the offensive success when they were winning.

Now that the Sooners have dropped two of three, the message is starting to sink in.

“It's just human nature that things are OK because we're winning,” Kruger said.

Forward Tyler Neal, one of just two seniors on the team, said the Sooners need to get back to pressuring the ball and dictating the tempo.

“I think we're going to try to get back to that a little bit, not as much as the beginning of the year but putting a little more pressure on them and not letting them dictate,” Neal said. “KU was kind of able to dictate their tempo and were able to run their stuff a little too easily, so just getting up into some passing lanes here and there. Nothing super crazy but to just help dictate a little more.”

by Ryan Aber
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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