NORMAN — One alteration Oklahoma is expected to make for tonight’s game at Iowa State is more playing time for senior guard Sam Grooms. He provided a second half spark in the 52-50 loss to Kansas State on Saturday.
The major reason Grooms will likely receive a bigger role in tonight’s game is because he handled being benched with maturity.
Grooms hasn’t played more than seven minutes in any Big 12 Conference game. OU coach Lon Kruger was honest about why.
“I didn’t do everything I needed to do, and he got his point across,” Grooms said on Sunday.
Kruger and the rest of the Sooner coaching staff told Grooms daily his play on the defense had to improve to earn more playing time. It didn’t matter that Grooms was leading the Sooners in assists with 48 despite only averaging 16.7 minutes per game. The staff wouldn’t refused to let Grooms be a one-dimensional player.
“They expect it from me because I’m athletically gifted enough to do it,” Grooms said.
If his defensive play rises, the Sooners will benefit on the offensive. There’s no doubt Grooms is OU’s best floor general when it comes to pushing the pace. It needed more of that in the loss to Kansas State and that’s why Kruger turned to Grooms in the second half.
It will be critical tonight against Iowa State. The Cyclones are the Big 12’s highest scoring team (78.5 points per game). However, they are ninth in points allowed per game (67.6).
“Most teams that like to attack you, don’t like to be attacked; that’s just the way it is,” Grooms said. “I think tomorrow we’ll attack more because we took the loss against K-State because we were on our heels and losing the ball and playing as strong as we should. Against Iowa State if we attack them they way they want to attack us, we should be fine.”