Mens basketball team to take on Oral Roberts University on Wednesday
Coming off a third-place finish in the Old Spice Classic last weekend, the OU men’s basketball team is headed to Tulsa to take on Oral Roberts at 7 p.m. on Nov. 28 at the Mabee Center.
Thanks to his performance in Orlando, junior forward Amath M’Baye took home Big 12 Rookie of the Week last week. M’Baye averaged 10.7 points and five rebounds and scored a season-high 19 points in the third-place game against West Virginia.
“It was great to see Amath not only get that award but do things that allowed him to get the award, mainly, playing much better on Sunday,” coach Lon Kruger said. “I thought he looked like the Amath of old on Sunday. Up to that point, I thought he looked a little bit tentative.”
The Golden Eagles are 3-3 and are led by senior guard Warren Niles, who is sure to challenge senior guard Steven Pledger and the Sooners’ trio of young guards: freshmen Isaiah Cousins, Je’lon Hornbeak and Buddy Hield.
“He gets up a lot of shots,” Pledger said. “It just tells you (that) you got to buckle down more and pay attention to the plays.”
The Cincinnati, Ohio, native leads the team with 20.8 points per game 58 percent shooting from the floor.
Last week, Niles was named the Southland Conference’s Player of the Week after averaging 19.3 points and 3.8 rebounds in four games, including a season-high 33 points against Loyola Marymount in a 75-66 victory in the first round of the Great Alaska Shootout.
But Pledger is embracing the challenge.
“You want to play against good scorers as a guard,” Pledger said. “It just brings the best mindset out of you.”
Nov. 28 also marks the opportunity for Kruger to pick up career victory No. 499 and move just one win away from the 500-win club. But Kruger downplayed the number’s significance and shifted the spotlight to his young team — one that’s continuing to improve.
“It’s something that just kind of comes around when you do it awhile,” Kruger said. “These guys are making progress, that’s what is most important to us right now.”
When OU and ORU tipoff, the Sooners will be focused solely on picking up the victory.
“(We want to) hopefully come out with a win,” senior forward Romero Osby said. “And hopefully, [we’ll be] able to sustain what we did against West Virginia and just build on that and carry it over to another game and see how we get better.”