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OU men's basketball: Practice notebook ahead of Oklahoma's matchup with Maryland Eastern Shore

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De’Vion Harmon

Freshman guard De’Vion Harmon claps while on defense during the game against William & Mary Tribe Nov. 18.

The Sooners answered questions after practice on Tuesday ahead of their game against Maryland Eastern Shore at 7 p.m. CT on Thursday.

Oklahoma (4-0) defeated William & Mary Monday night, 75-70, despite trailing at halftime, 39-37. The Sooners are shooting 15 percent from the three point line in the first half this season.

Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger brings a young squad into the 2019-20 season, that features just one senior — forward Kristian Doolittle. Despite their youth, the Sooners were able to keep their undefeated season alive heading into a matchup with the Hawks on Thursday.

Here’s what Kruger and his team had after practice on Tuesday:

Limiting turnovers

Turnover differential was a big reason why the Sooners came out on top Tuesday. The Sooners had just four turnovers in the game while forcing 14 from the Tribe and turning them into 22 fast-break points.

Despite having such a young team, Kruger has been able to rely on having a versatile backcourt featuring three players that can all play point guard.

“We expect to handle the ball pretty well with that lineup in there, and they have,” Kruger said. “Even though we’re young with some lineups in there we truly have pretty good playmakers and pretty good ball handlers.”

After Tuesday’s contest, the Sooners are now No. 7 nationally in turnovers per game and lead the Big 12 with nine.

Harmon’s shooting slump

Freshman point guard De’Vion Harmon has been in a shooting slump after scoring 22 points in the exhibition game and 23 points in the season opener against Texas San-Antonio. The Texas-native was 0-5 against Oregon State and had just eight points on 2-6 shooting against William & Mary.

Despite the slump, Harmon has been working to make an impact in other ways. The playmaking point guard had six rebounds, four assists and two steals against the Tribe.

“That’s when you’ve gotta turn to defense and pressure and get more rebounds,” Harmon said. “Do everything else when the scoring isn’t there for you.”

Harmon decided to try a different look on Tuesday, wearing a black headband in the hopes that he can change the way he’s been shooting recently.

“Just a new look. I wore it in high school my first two and a half years,” Harmon said. “In the middle of my junior year I stopped wearing it. I wanted to see how it felt to put it back on and obviously I’m in a slump.”

Iwuakor making an impact:

Freshman forward Victor Iwuakor had a solid game against William & Mary, scoring eight points on 4-5 shooting in just 11 minutes of action. Iwuakor made his biggest impact on defense, with an impressive display of athleticism in his only block of the game as well as two others that were called back due to a foul and goaltending.

The 6-foot-7 forward from Texas brought energy to the Lloyd Noble Center against the Tribe. Iwuakor says bringing energy to the team has been his goal.

“I’m always like that,” Iwuakor said. “Anytime I get on the court, I’ve got that chip on my shoulder. I’ve got to be the best man, I’ve gotta make everybody feel comfortable and that’s always been my goal.”

Tipoff for OU vs. Maryland Eastern Shore will be at 7 p.m. CT.

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