Oklahoma Basketball lost it’s unquestioned leader from last season’s Final Four squad and will head into the 2016-17 season season with some huge shoes to fill. Not only was Buddy Hield Oklahoma’s points leader, he was also the voice of the team and primary encourager. In the Sooners’ one and only exhibition game they proved that they’ve got guys who can score but was the question of leadership adequately answered?
Four different players scored in double figures, led by 16 from Christian James. Khadeem Lattin added 12, as did newcomer Kameron McGusty. Darrion Strong, also a newcomer, added 10 points to complete the nucleus of Oklahoma’s scoring machine. The Sooners shot 45.9% from the floor and 30.8% from 3-point range for the game.
The defining moment came in the second half though where Oklahoma turned a one point halftime lead into a twenty point victory. Over the final twenty minutes the Sooners boosted their shooting percentage from 40.6% in the first half to 51.7% for the second. At the same time they amped up the defensive pressure, resulting in Washburn’s shooting dropping to 33.3% in the second half from 39.4% in the first.
Through the first twenty minutes of the game the Sooners very much looked like a team with talent but also a team that was searching for an identity. Over the final twenty minutes they seemed to have found their way. Now the question is, can they carry that into the regular season over the weekend?