After the unforeseen departure of Calvin Newell just five games into the season, the Sooners struggled to fill the void left behind from his 13 points per contest off the bench. Sure, you had the occasional 18 point outing from Tyler Neal, or 20 point night form Carl Blair, but those were rare, no one really solidified themselves as the key reserve.
Likewise, Cameron Clark had struggled to find his groove for much of his sophomore season, averaging just five points over their last five games, including a dismal performance against Cincinnati in which he failed to register a single point.
As the Sooners sat 0-3 to start conference play, it was apparent adjustments were needed. So that’s exactly what head coach Lon Kruger did last Saturday against Kansas State, substituting Carl Blair into the starting lineup to replace the struggling Clark. The result: Oklahoma grabbed its first conference win of the season, in a game that was never really close, shocking the 18th ranked Wildcats 82-73. Clark recorded 10 points in 14 minutes off the bench.
Fast forward to Tuesday evening’s game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders and Clark would again score in double digits with 10 points, showing a new drive, a will to get to the lane, almost as if he were playing with something to prove. The Sooners again proved victorious, winning their second straight game with the altered lineup.
Whether it was the shift to the bench that is the cause to the sudden fire lit under Clark, or some other reason, it’s been of substantial value to the Sooners. You don’t mess with success and, though early on, the Sooners have been having it, with Clark in a sixth man position.
His new found determination has lead to a mini two game streak by the Sooners, but Clark will need to stay hot in order for the Sooners to keep it up. Their first road test since the switch is Saturday versus the Texas A&M Aggies, who have had their own hardships as of late, and the timing is ideal for the Sooners to try to snag their first conference road victory.
If Clark can continue his sizzling streak the Sooners look to be in good shape to win, they are 7-1 when the sophomore nets double digit points.
Regardless, his recent play has been pleasant for Sooner fans to watch, and hopefully he can maintain the ever so valuable role, as the secret weapon, scoring lift, and Sooners sixth man.
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