Oklahoma basketball: Sooners finish strong in final exhibition

With the season and home opener set for Sunday afternoon, the men’s Oklahoma basketball team finished out its exhibition schedule with a 114-78 blowout win over East Central University.

The Sooners looked much sharper on both ends of the floor than they did in the exhibition loss to the University of Texas-Arlington 11 days earlier.

Five Oklahoma players reached double figures in the scoring column, led by five-star freshman recruit Trae Young with 23 points. Junior guard Christian James, broke in his new number 0 jersey, with an 18-point performance along with six rebounds and four steals. James made five of seven field-goal attempts and was three of five from behind the three-point line.

Khadeem Lattin and Kameron McGusty both had 15 points and Jamuni McNeace contributed 13.

As a team, the Sooners shot 54 percent for the game, 12 percentage points better than in the exhibition with UT-Arlington. Oklahoma was even hotter in the opening half, shooting at a 68-percent clip (28 of 41) for a 68-45 advantage at the half.

The Sooners controlled the backboards, outrebounding East Central 52-32, with five different OU players collecting at least five boards, led the Lattin with 10.

Head coach Lon Kruger was pleased to see better ball movement and distribution than in their previous outing. The Sooners recorded assists on 21 of their 44 made field goals. Young had six assists and Rashard Odomes had four for the Sooners.

“I’m please that the group continues to make progress from two weeks ago,” the Sooner head coach told reporters after Wednesday’s game. “Offensively, just making good plays for each other, moving the ball and sharing it and finishing it.”

Oklahoma opens its season with a 2 p.m. game Sunday at Lloyd Noble Center against Nebraska-Omaha. It will be Kruger’s 200th game as head coach of the Sooners. His record is 122-77 (.613) at Oklahoma, including four NCAA Tournament appearances and the Final Four in 2015-16.