Incarnate Word-Oklahoma Preview
Lon Kruger got an easy win, extended rest for his starters and a long look at his entire roster in Oklahoma's last game.
The coach might be able to achieve all three of those again when the No. 7 Sooners face a second straight Southland Conference opponent in Incarnate Word on Tuesday night.
Oklahoma (2-0) moved up one spot in the Top 25 this week for its highest ranking since finishing the 2008-09 season seventh. The Sooners turned in an impressive performance in their home opener Friday, routing McNeese State 85-56 to begin a four-game stretch in Norman.
No starter played more than 25 minutes as Kruger emptied the bench. Eleven players logged at least 10 minutes.
''Good opportunity to get a lot of guys some really good minutes,'' Kruger said. ''They were making plays for each other and we had some really good stretches defensively. Maybe we were a little too unselfish, passing up good shots, but I liked our ball movement.''
The abbreviated outings for the starters didn't prevent Buddy Hield from having another big game with 24 points. He scored 13 in the first 4:45 of the second half before sitting the rest of the way.
The reigning Big 12 Player of the Year went 9 of 13 from the field and 5 of 7 from 3-point range after a 30-point performance at Memphis last Tuesday.
''My teammates got me the ball and I just had some good shots,'' Hield said. ''We were pushing the ball up in transition and they were finding me in some good spots. So hats off to them.''
The lopsided victory was welcome after Oklahoma had to sweat out an 84-78 victory over the Tigers, with three starters playing at least 35 minutes.
The Sooners led by 36 in the second half Friday and went 11 of 25 from beyond the arc. One area Kruger would like to see improve significantly is free-throw shooting, as Oklahoma was 12 of 26 (46.2 percent) against McNeese State, giving it a lower percentage from the foul line than from the field (48.4) in that game.
Seven-foot center Akolda Manyang made his debut after missing the opener with a foot injury. The cousin of former Sooners center Longar Longar, Manyang had six rebounds in 10 minutes and missed both of his field-goal attempts.
Incarnate Word (2-1) didn't fare too well against its first ranked opponent since joining Division I in 2013 its last time out, losing 96-61 at then-No. 21 Purdue on Wednesday. The Cardinals easily handled Division III opponents Texas Lutheran and Schreiner University in their first two games, but the leap in competition was apparent against the Boilermakers.
With two 7-footers in the lineup, Purdue overwhelmed Incarnate Word inside, finishing with a staggering 56-19 rebounding advantage. The Boilermakers outscored the Cardinals 53-24 in the first 20 minutes, shot 59.6 percent from the field to Incarnate Word's 28.4 and recorded 13 blocked shots.
Oklahoma and Incarnate Word have never met.