Oklahoma entered Monday night’s game against UT Rio Grande Vally needing some positive vibes before conference play. The Sooners had lost two of their previous four games and those two wins were by a combined three points. Having a date with Kansas State, to open conference play, just days away the Sooners were sitting in a vulnerable spot as far as confidence goes. Then Monday night happened!
Brady Manek scored a career-high 29 points and the Sooners shot 50.8% from the floor as they ran roughshod over the Vaqueros. Possibly the most impressive feat of the night was that OU dominated the boards by a margin of 48-28. Rebounding has been a struggle for this team on the season, but concentrated efforts from Kur Kuath (8 boards), Manek and Jalen Hill (7 each) showed a renewed focus towards crashing the boards.
Kuath turned what appeared to be a bad situation into a positive with his 19 point/8 rebound performance. Thrust into the starting lineup, due to a suspension of Kristian Doolittle, the junior forward produced a star performance going 6-of-10 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the free throw line. Not bad for a guy who entered the game averaging just 2.5 points per night.
Lon Kruger’s crew will now enter conference play with a 9-3 record and riding a wave of momentum. That’s exactly what this team needs as they’ll be tasked with picking up at least 11 wins in Big 12 play to make a run at the NCAA Tournament.
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