It wasn’t the prettiest win, in fact, it was pretty ugly, but it was a win. There were plenty of times the Sooners could have folded, because frankly it wasn’t their night, they were down by as many as nine at one point the 2nd half. But the Sooners pushed through, hanging on for a close 79-74 victory against the Houston Cougars in the All-College Classic Saturday evening.
As mentioned, it wasn’t the most impressive performance on the Sooners part, particularly on the defensive end of the floor. There were too many wide open looks for comfort, which really is what allowed Houston to linger around for so long. There were costly turnovers at pivotal moments in the game. However, the Sooners did have one thing going for them tonight, and his name was Steven Pledger.
Pledger recorded a season high 31 points on 10-13 shooting and 4-5 from three, including a dagger around the 5 minute mark that seemingly sealed the fate of the game, as after that, the Sooners never trailed again. It doesn’t stop there though, Pledger also added a career high 10 rebounds to get the double-double and made his presence known on the defensive end swiping two steals. Any other choice for the Sooner Player of the Game, would be the wrong one.
Tyler Neal continued to provide a spark off the bench, netting nine points in 23 minutes tonight, and pulling down six boards. Neal only seems to be getting more and more comfortable with his newfound role as 6th man after the transfer of Calvin Newell.
Cameron Clark also added some solid minutes for the Sooners, scoring six of their first 10 points and finishing the game with a total of 14, second in scoring behind only Pledger.
Romero Osby gave some quality minutes that should not go unnoticed, but, he did the dirty work down low for the Sooners grabbing 10 rebounds and adding a steal and a block apiece.
Sam Grooms was two assists shy of a double-double with 10 points, eight of which came in the first half, and eight dimes. He displayed perfect control, never turning the ball over once in the game.
Overall, it was a solid win for the Sooners. This has become a theme for Houston this season to hang around late in ball games, and not be able to finish, and the Sooners were simply another one of the games for them. Though in all reality it was a pretty sloppy win, it was the play late of the Sooners that impressed the most, hitting clutch shots and getting key stops to put the game away. Really, it was a good win, and the Sooners, a pleasant surprise to many, are now sitting at 8-1.
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