Grooms’ case won’t be the last where Kruger uses the bench as a motivator. Starting point guard Je’lon Hornbeak and senior guard Steven Pledger spent most of the second half of the Kansas State game sitting next to Kruger.
The reason: you can’t get away with lackluster play at either of the court. Hornbeak didn’t handle the pressure Kansas State applied very well and neither did Pledger.
Both, however, will be needed against Iowa State (15-6, 5-3) at 6 p.m., tonight at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.
The Cyclones offer a completely different challenge. They have roster full of 3-point shooters to go with forward Melvin Ejim and will spread the floor and pick teams apart. Even when that’s not working, Iowa State seems to find ways to win. It’s coming off a 79-71 victory over Baylor Saturday night. The Cyclones were 4-for-24 from 3-point range, but still won their 19th straight home game.
“Guarding them is a big challenge. Everyone can shoot the 3 and they can space the floor and make it tough,” Kruger said.
Tough teams are the only teams that seem to beat Iowa State on its court. OU displayed toughness in winning at Baylor and hanging in against Kansas State despite a woeful offensive performance.
However, they have to put it together on both ends to win the tough games required to stay in the top half of the Big 12 Conference. The winner remains in a tie for third place in the league. The loser sinks all the way to sixth.
It’s the reality the Sooners face.
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