Oklahoma Basketball ends year, non-conference, with 72-42 win

From start to finish it was a dominating performance for the Oklahoma Sooners.  In the final part of their Field House Series, the Sooners defeated the Texas A&M Corpus-Christi Islanders 72-42 on New Year’s Eve afternoon, ending 2012 and the non-conference with a bang, improving to 9-3.

In the early going, it was offense that propelled the Sooners out to a quick lead.  Behind hot shooting, Oklahoma jumped out on a quick 11-2 run to start things off, and went 10-16 from the floor in the first eight minutes of the game.  A 12-4 run in which the Sooner nailed four consecutive three pointers really gave them the upper hand, and they saw their lead increase to 17.

Amath M'Baye finishes with 14 points and 6 rebounds in the Sooner win (Photo from Soonersports.com)

Amath M’Baye finishes with 14 points and 6 rebounds in the Sooner win (Photo from Soonersports.com)

It was an ephemeral stretch of offensive firepower, and after starting out hot Oklahoma watched 6:38 tick off the clock before sinking a basket.  Lucky for them the defensive intensity picked up where the offensive efficiency left off.  Oklahoma held the Islanders to 1-8 from the field and three points over the final 10 minutes of the half, also forcing five turnovers during that period.  The streak of stellar defense carried over into the second half, where Oklahoma continued to build on their lead, ultimately outscoring their opponents 32-22 in the half.

On the whole, the Sooner defense held Texas A&M-CC to 17 for 57 from the field (30%) and forced 17 miscues from the Islanders on the afternoon.

The dominance didn’t stop with defense however.  The Sooners came out on top in almost every statistical category fathomable.  Turnovers? Check.  Rebounds? Check.  Points in the Paint? Check.  Second Chance Points? Check.  The list goes on and on.  It was an incredibly efficient performance against a clearly inferior team.  Pretty much what you would expect.

Speaking of efficiency, Romero Osby has been the model for it all season, and this game was no different.  The senior forward scored 8 points and grabbed six rebounds, but take a glance at his shooting numbers.  Osby was perfect from the line, shooting 6 for 6 from the stripe, and made the only field goal he attempted all game, making him 100% accurate in this contest.  Andrew Fitzgerald was also perfect from the field, shooting 4-4 and scoring nine points off the bench.

Overall it was a pretty balanced scoring attack from the Sooners, 10 of the 12 Sooners that played scored, six of them scoring seven or more.  However, a couple of guys in particular stood out with their above average performances.

Amath M’Baye is next up in efficiency, scoring 14 points on 7-11 shooting from the field today.  M’Baye also added a block, a steal and six boards.  This marks the first time he has scored double figures in consecutive games since his eruption against West Virginia, in which he scored a season-high 19 points.

Leading the charge was Steven Pledger who piled up 17 points, 11 of which came in the second half, on 5-10 from deep.  He is the Sooner Player of the Game.  After a sluggish start, Pledger has seen his two highest scoring games of the season in the last couple of contests.  He is getting his shot off with more confidence, and will hope to see this carry over into conference play.

Another key factor in the win was free throw shooting.  The Sooners shot 93.8% (15-16) from the free throw line, a 22.1% increase from their season average of 71.7%.

Next up the Sooners will begin conference play as they travel to Morgantown January 5th to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers.  The Mountaineers will pose a familiar foe, the two teams have already met once this season in the Old Spice Classic, where the Sooners won 77-70.  Tip-off is set for 3 PM CST.

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