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October 28, 2012

Sooners crank up the tempo in transition

NORMAN — Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger and assistant Lew Hill shared a common two-word phrase on Saturday afternoon.

“Push it!” both constantly yelled from opposite benches during the Sooners’ intrasquad scrimmage at Lloyd Noble Center.

“We are trying to pick up the pace. We’re trying to get opportunities in transition and share the ball more. If that doesn’t happen, we’ll fall back into our offense,” forward Romero Osby said. “We just want to push it and see what we can get. We know the best offense is beating everyone down the floor; that’s what we’ve been focused on.”

It showed Saturday. Technically, the Crimson beat the White 86-65 in a game that had only 35 minutes of actual game time. But players also switched sides in the second half.

The only thing that could be ascertained from the workout was OU wasn’t planning on showing much of its half-court offense.

It was the biggest change from the Sooners’ first public scrimmage last Saturday.

“I think everyone was anxious to play and a little too excited last Saturday,” forward Amath M’Baye said. “I think today, we focused on the scrimmage being a time for us to get better and to play like we play in practice. I think we did a good job of that. That includes pushing the ball and running and sharing the ball more.”

Getting up 114 shots in 35 minutes was the evidence. The Sooners shot 53 percent on those attempts. Andrew Fitzgerald led OU with 19 points. M’Baye added 17. Steven Pledger added 12 and was 2 for 3 from 3-point range.

Kruger said what was on display Saturday was within reach of what he wants to see when the season begins next month.

“It’s closer,” Kruger said. “Our ability to play more people and keep them fresher, the ability both offensively and defensively makes a big difference.”

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