The Norman Transcript

Sports

January 8, 2014

Sooners have figured out a way to play big; even as they remain small

NORMAN — Height is the most coveted trait in college basketball. Those who have it can play in space that cannot be defended.

If Oklahoma (12-2, 1-0 Big 12) is missing one desirable attribute, it is the lack of a true skyscraper who dominates the paint. Junior D.J. Bennett is listed at 6-foot-10, but he only averages 10.4 minutes a game. It means the Sooners typically spend three-fourths of a game with a size disadvantage.

They spent all of it with one last Saturday in a 88-85 victory over Texas. Bennett did not play. For 40 minutes, the Sooners battled the Longhorns’ size in the post without flinching.

In truth, they didn’t just battle it, they beat it. The scoreboard said so, but so did one other very important statistic: rebounding. The Sooners walked out of Texas’ Erwin Center plus 11 (39 to 28) in rebounding margin.

It was a dominant performance, considering the Sooners have averaged a little less than four rebounds more than their opponents this season. The effort is illustrated more with forward Ryan Spangler only pulling down five boards against the Longhorns.

“Our guards have been doing a good job of getting down in there,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “It starts with Ryan, but throughout the year on different nights someone else typically jumps up there.”

The Sooners will needs other to jump in from all directions when they face No. 18 Kansas (9-4, 0-0) at 6 p.m. today at Lloyd Noble Center.

The ability to rebound with bigger teams will

likely decide what kind of season the Sooners have. Few in the country boast more size and athleticism than the Jayhawks. They’ll bring a legitimate 7-footer to the floor with freshman center Joel Embiid.

However, Kansas hasn’t exactly dominated the glass either this season. Its plus 6.2-rebounding average is one of the biggest reasons the traditional power is off the slow start.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Big 12 Media Days Football Big 12 could fill NCAA’s vacuum; make the discipline calls, too

    It doesn’t look good for Joe Mixon.  Though his attorney, Kevin Finlay, said the most ballyhooed prospect of the Sooners’ most recent recruiting class “instinctually defended himself against further harm,” it just doesn’t ...

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tang making a splash on state level

    The Sooner Swim Club has produced a long string of great athletes in Norman. Norman North has won back-to-back state championships and senior Justin Wu owns several state records and last week qualified for the U.S. National swim meet. The ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Bradford facing another year of scrutiny in newest season

    ST. LOUIS — It’s become a rite of training camp for Sam Bradford. Every summer, he deals with the oversized burden of living up to getting picked first overall in 2010. The St. Louis Rams quarterback is not surprised that once again, he’s ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Judge rules against owner Donald Sterling, but lengthy saga far from over

    LOS ANGELES — Embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling lost his attempt to block the $2 billion sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer....

    July 29, 2014

  • T-Wolves land guard Mo Williams

    MINNEAPOLIS — Mo Williams is on his way to Minnesota, which means J.J. Barea could be on his way out....

    July 29, 2014

  • LSU freshmen face misdemeanors

    BATON ROUGE, La. — Two LSU freshmen football players face charges, one for allegedly stealing a bicycle outside Middleton Library and the other for allegedly tossing firecrackers into a campus apartment....

    July 29, 2014

  • Fitzgerald says players’ push for union brought Northwestern together

    CHICAGO — No matter how this season unfolds, Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald insisted there is no more unified team than his Wildcats. For that, he credits the push for them to unionize....

    July 29, 2014

  • Delany rides fence with PSU

    CHICAGO — Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany took a non-committal stance on an effort by five Pennsylvania Congressmen to rescind sanctions against Penn State for its handling of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal....

    July 29, 2014

  • Murray St. aims to be OVC contenders

    Fifth-year Murray State coach Chris Hatcher has returned the program to OVC relevance thanks to his exciting “Hatch Attack” offense. The Racers will need more results if they hope to be serious contenders....

    July 29, 2014

  • Healthy Claiborne ready to show his worth to Cowboys

    OXNARD, Calif. — Morris Claiborne got on Terrance Williams’ nerves the minute the competition started at training camp for the Dallas Cowboys....

    July 29, 2014

Facebook