The Norman Transcript

Sports

February 27, 2013

Grooms has figured it out

(Continued)

NORMAN —

The voice, however, has been muted.

Over the last three games — at Oklahoma State, at Texas and Baylor at home — the few true jump shots Grooms has been willing to take have fallen.

Just a couple have lifted the Sooners (18-8, 9-5 Big 12) to another offensive level as they prepare to face Texas (12-15, 4-10) at 8 tonight inside the Erwin Center.

Grooms, who has averaged 17.6 points per game over the Sooners’ last three contests, has no interest in becoming a full-on jump shooter. He just wants to make an opponent have to guard him somewhere other than the paint.

He’s at his best when he can drive and attack and that’s hard to do when defenders won’t guard you.

“When a defense doesn’t have to honor a jumper at all … it limits what you can do,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “Sam making a couple jumpers has been huge for him. Not just for his confidence, but making the defense play him. Now it’s five on five instead of five on four.”

OU’s averaged 85 points over its last three outings.

Grooms also has 13 assists against five turnovers during the same period.

Grooms is playing his best basketball as a Sooner. The reason: confidence.

Make no mistake, Grooms hasn’t rained down jump shots over the last three games. Only 12 of his points have come on shots outside the paint during the stretch. He’s 5-for-8 from outside the lane and has made his only two 3-point attempts.

But a little can go a long way. The doubt that would surface when a defender sagged off is gone. Removing that weight has allowed Grooms to play terrific basketball.

“Sam hasn’t been at this level since he’s played here,” Kruger said. “He’s had moments where he’s played very well. These last three he’s clearly played at his highest level.”

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn

jshinn@normantranscript.com

 

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