During the first-five minutes of Oklahoma's season opening men's basketball game, senior Romero Osby was the only reason the Sooners had five points on the board. Then there was close to a four-minute scoring drought from the Sooners.
The score was 5-4 until junior Tyler Neal hit the second 3-point shot of the game with 13:47 remaining in the first half. The Sooners had another three-minute scoring skid later in the first half.
Second-year Sooners coach Lon Kruger said the team did not come out sharp in their 85-51 victory against the Louisiana-Monroe.
“I thought we were on our heels defensively,” Kruger said. “We were kind of watching as opposed to dictating. We did create some opportunities with our steals and traps, which seemed to get us jump-started a little bit after getting off to a slow start.”
Twelve Oklahoma players participated in the Sooners' home opener against Louisiana-Monroe. Freshman Je'lon Hornbeak led the team in minutes with 28. Hornbeak had one 3-pointer, one free throw and three 2-point baskets. He added five rebounds and five assists.
The newcomers actually led in minutes. Junior transfer Amath M'Baye and freshman Buddy Hield played for 22 minutes, and Isaiah Cousins played for 20. The highest non-newcomer minutes were from starter Steven Pledger and junior Tyler Neal, who both had 18.
Ten of the 12 players played for at least 14 minutes.
“It'll be a continuous experiment to see who is playing their minutes well and who is getting the job done,” Kruger said. “We just have to keep grooving defensively and keep taking care of the basketball, moving the ball and making good plays for each other.
“We are not set on anything by any means because players will determine that and dictate that as we get on deeper in conference and non-conference play.”
Senior Andrew Fitzgerald on his six rebounds: “It's attacking the glass hard. ... I think it's just becoming a habit for me now, getting more on the offensive and defensive end. That was one of my focal points from last year, focusing on getting rebounds to help my team out.”
*Oklahoma has won 35 consecutive non-conference home games. They Sooners have won 93 of their last 95.
*The victory was Kruger's 495th of his collegiate coaching career.
*The Sooners outscored the Warhawks by 18 points from the 3-point range going 9-for-23. ULM finished 3-for-16.