The Norman Transcript

Sports

February 12, 2014

Front and center: Sooners looking for more inside scoring

NORMAN — There was a four-trip spurt that had Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger and his team fired up in last Saturday’s win over Baylor.

Backup center D.J. Bennett grabbed a rebound that ignited a fast-break layup for Isaiah Cousins. Bennett then blocked a shot, setting up his own jump hook on the other end of the floor. On the next defensive possession, Bennett swatted away another shot, igniting a fast-break layup for Buddy Hield.

“If he can do that and give Ryan a couple minutes of rest, that’s great,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “He’ll keep working at it and keep getting better.”

The only issue to take with OU’s performance in the 88-62 victory was Bennett’s jump-hook were the only points he or starting center Ryan Spangler scored in that game.

Getting some low-post scoring is something the Sooners (18-6, 7-4 Big 12) will have a chance to do when they face Texas Tech (12-12, 4-6) at 7 p.m. today at Lloyd Noble Center.

There’s no intention to play Bennett 30 minutes a game. The goal is to get 10 quality minutes out of him when Spangler rests.

But combined, the Sooners need to get some offensive production from the five spot.

“It’s really important,” Bennett said. “Me and Span look at it as a challenge. Teams are not expecting us to have many moves down low. I think that it can be a big part of our game.”

You never would never know by the expression on Spangler’s face that he didn’t score a point in the Baylor game. He’s a team guy through and through. Plus, he demonstrated this season his value far exceeds his point total. He’s the only player in the Big 12 averaging 10.0 rebounds a game this season and his 10.5 per game average in conference play is 1.2 more than any other Big 12 player.

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