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November 3, 2013

OU takes court for final exhibition game tonight

NORMAN — Outside of a twisted ankle for guard Isaiah Cousins, Oklahoma couldn’t have asked for much more than what it got out of Saturday’s 104-76 exhibition victory over Washburn.

The Sooners played an up-tempo game, shot 55.2 percent and were plus-16 in the rebounding department.

However, OU will be looking for more when it concludes exhibition play at 7 p.m. today against Oklahoma Christian at McCasland Field House.

What OU coach Lon Kruger is trying to find early this season is a reliable rotation. Right now, he doesn’t know how long or short it will be.

“It’s really based on their results, their production, their consistency, and we would love to see them all play,” Kruger said. “It makes us better. It’s about lining up, doing what you do well, trusting your teammates to do what they do well. I could see us going nine, 10, maybe 11 (deep) if they all produce. We hope they do.”

Developing that bench is an early-season necessity. It was somewhat limited against Washburn. Senior Tyler Neal scored 12 points and junior college transfer Keshaun Hamilton had four rebounds and three assists off the bench. Freshman guard Frank Booker scored five points in 22 minutes, but his three turnovers and 1-for-6 shooting from 3-point range left a lot be desired.

But the brunt of the Sooners’ scoring and just about everything else came from the starters. Ryan Spangler (10), Cameron Clark (23), Jordan Woodard (15) and Buddy Hield (21) combined for 69 of OU’s 104 points.

If OU wants to be a true up-tempo team, it has to go more than eight deep. Kruger said junior forward D.J. Bennett, who’s dealt with a foot injury the last three weeks, will play more against Oklahoma Christian than the three minutes he was on the court against Washburn.

The extra time is needed. The real season begins in just five days against Alabama at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

The Sooners showed they have some promise Saturday. The exhibition games are used to try to figure out where all the pieces of the bench fit.

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn

jshinn@normantranscript.com

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