The Norman Transcript

February 4, 2014

Cameron Clark looking to find old form

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Oklahoma forward Cameron Clark has been held to seven points in each of his last two games. The issue hasn’t been a shooting slump; the senior was 3 for 7 from the field and 1 for 2 from the free-throw line.

OU coach Lon Kruger believes what Clark has lacked is the assertiveness he’s played with most of the season.

“Cam needs to stay aggressive and stay confident and keep attacking,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “He needs to shoot it when he’s open and attack when he’s not.”

Clark has struggled with offensive consistency throughout his career, but that was a problem he seemed to have solved this season. He’s averaging 16.1 points per game and scored in double figures in 17 of the Sooners’ 22 games.

“I just need to be more aggressive. I know teams are focused on me, so I need to do a better job getting my teammates involved,” Clark said. “It’s not really about me scoring; it’s just about about me doing the little things better.”

Turnovers an issue: Oklahoma had its four-game winning streak snapped with Saturday’s 81-75 loss at Iowa State. Points were not a problem in the game. Turnovers, however, were.

The Sooners committed 14, which was one short of their highest total in Big 12 Conference play.

“We gave away some possessions, offensively, which you just can’t afford to do,” OU coach Lon Kruger said Monday. “We have to play better.”

The Sooners are averaging 12.04 turnovers a game this season. The effort against the Cyclones wasn’t that bad, but they only forced 10 by Iowa State. The Sooners were only able to turn those into four fast-break points.

30 is not the charm: OU guard Buddy Hield scored a career-high 30 points in the 81-75 loss to the Cyclones. It marked the third time this season a Sooner has scored 30 points in a game. Cameron Clark has done that three times this season. He scored 32 against Kansas and Michigan State and 31 against Texas-Arlington.

The Sooners’ record is now 1-3 when they have a player score at least 30 points.

“When everyone is scoring, it means the ball is moving better and no one knows who to guard,” said Hield, who was 10 for 18 from the field and 5 for 5 from the free-throw line against Iowa State.

All five of OU’s starters — Ryan Spangler, Jordan Woodard, Isaiah Cousins, Clark and Hield — average at least 10.4 points a game. In all three of the losses, only three of OU’s starters scored in double figures.

OU moves up two spots in the polls: OU moved up two spots in both the Associated Press and USA Today coaches Top 25 polls on Monday.

The Sooners moved to No. 21 in the AP poll and up to No. 23 in the other.

The Big 12 Conference still represents 20 percent of the teams in both polls. League-leading Kansas is No. 8 in the AP poll and No. 9 with the coaches. Texas, which handed the Jayhawks’ their first conference loss Saturday, is No. 15 with AP and No. 18 with the coaches. The Cyclones are at No. 16 in the AP poll and No. 17 in the coaches. Oklahoma State, which lost to both OU and at home to Baylor last week, dropped to No. 19 in both polls.

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn

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