The Norman Transcript

Sports

January 19, 2013

Teammates know when Pledger has game face on

(Continued)

MANHATTAN, Kan. —

“He hit those shots down the stretch that we really needed to win a road game,” Kruger said. “The way you win road games is be right there and then someone hits a big shot and instead of being up two you’re up by four.”

The Sooners (12-3, 3-0 Big 12) have played well on the road this season. They’re 6-2 away from Lloyd Noble Center this season, but today’s 3 p.m. game against the 16th-ranked Wildcats is going to be their toughest exam since facing No. 8 Gonzaga in November.

However, Pledger hasn’t really had that look this season. He’s averaging a respectable 11.5 points per game, but hasn’t reached the 20-point mark in any of OU’s 15 games.

There are factors involved in Pledger’s decreased scoring. For one, the Sooners are a much deeper team this season. The additions of freshman guard Buddy Hield and junior forward Amath M'Baye, and the development of senior forward Romero Osby has made OU a diverse offensive team. Pledger doesn’t have to score 30 points for OU to win a tough game.

“It’s been tough to catch a rhythm. I haven’t been able to get that yet,” he said.

Kansas State will do everything it can to upset Pledger’s tempo today. Pledger averaged 24 points in the two games against the Wildcats last season. They might try to guard him in the layup line before the game.

However, Pledger has been the focal point of defenses before. He was the last time he played against the Wildcats and it didn’t matter. Once “the look” takes over, the shots start falling regardless of the hands in his face.

“It’s amazing to have that look where it seemed like he was going to make every shot he put up,” forward Andrew Fitzgerald said. “It’s really a treat to watch.”

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn

jshinn@normantranscript.com

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