The Norman Transcript


February 23, 2013

Good start suits M’Baye

NORMAN — Amath M’Baye filled up the statistics sheet in Oklahoma’s victory over Texas Tech on Wednesday. He registered his first double-double of the season with 15 points and 13 rebounds. The 6-foot-9 forward even had five assists.

And he was only on the court for 25 minutes of the 86-71 victory.

“We’ve been on him to play like that,” OU point guard Sam Grooms said. “I’m really happy for him today. He went out there and played hard. He rebounded. He dominated. Even though he hasn’t done it before, tonight he did it. I’m looking forward to that happening the rest of the year.”

Anyone with a rooting interest in the Sooners feels the same way. M’Baye can be a mismatch menace when he’s playing well. There just aren’t many 6-foot-9 forwards who can make 3-pointers and blow right by defenders.

There seems to be an obvious indicator of whether M’Baye will put that full range of skills to use. The first four minutes have been a pretty strong indicator of the junior’s offensive activity.

M’Baye, who is averaging 10.5 points per game, has scored 15 or more points seven times this season. In those games, he’s averaged 4.3 points in the first four minutes and scored six or more three times.

Twice M’Baye has put seven points on the scoreboard by the first television timeout. The latest was Wednesday night. The first came in the Sooners’ 74-71 victory at Baylor on Jan. 30.

The Sooners (17-8, 8-5 Big 12) play host to the Bears (16-10, 7-6) at 4 p.m. today at Lloyd Noble Center.

OU coach Lon Kruger doesn’t believe the first four minutes are an all-or-nothing span for M’Baye, and he’s right. In the first Bedlam game on Jan. 12, M’Baye didn’t score a point in the first four minutes, but still scored 15.

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