Pledger Guides OU With 24 in Preseason Finale

NORMAN, Okla. — The Sooners completed their exhibition slate with an 85-59 victory over the Washburn Ichabods Sunday afternoon at Lloyd Noble Center.

"Second exhibition game, as you might expect, a lot of good things," said head coach Lon Kruger. "A lot of things I really liked about what was happening, a lot of opportunities to learn from things that happened."

One of those is turnovers.

So far, in two preseason outings, OU has committed 50 turnovers, including 24 in this outing.

"Maybe a little careless with the ball, certainly turned it over much more than what we'd like to and much more than this club will," Kruger said.

But as a 26-point margin of victory might indicate, there were positives also, including a 24-point outburst by guard Steven Pledger, who was suspended for the first game.

"It's huge," Kruger said of what his shooting does for the team. "Pledger potentially is consistently a very, very good shooter. Not just a good shooter, but a very good shooter. I thought tonight his selection was great. Every one he put up, I thought it was going in. He's a guy that I think will consistently shoot it well on the year."

Pledger nailed 5-of-7 from behind the arc and hit 6-of-11 field goals overall, as well as a 7-for-9 performance from the line to go along with six rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

"It's more of what my teammates do for me," Pledger said. "It's more screens, passes in the right spots and things like that. It's really based off of what the team is doing. My scoring is off of what the team concept is."

Other positives were OU's ability to force 20 turnovers and win the rebounding battle 49-29.

"I liked the aggressiveness going to the boards, a bunch of rebounds right there," Kruger said.

The Sooners, who never trailed in the contest, got off to a quick double-digit lead at 18-8 just about six minutes in.

They expanded it from there, building the advantage to 21 before the nine minute mark of the first half, and they nursed a 15-point lead into intermission, at which point it was 42-27.

The second half started out much like the first, with sloppy play but play that favored OU.

After the Ichabods briefly cut the deficit to 13, OU got back up by 20 in the next four minutes and never led by less than that again.

OU was up as much as 33 with 1:29 remaining.

Following their pair of exhibition victories, the Sooners will now prepare for the regular season opener at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 against Idaho State at Lloyd Noble Center.

"It serves as a starting point is all," Kruger said. "The opportunity to watch film; these guys do a good job at watching film and learning from it. We'll go to practice and on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, we'll make a lot of progress and we have to do that. We can't be from game to game; it's got to be each day in practice getting a little bit better. We'll have a good opportunity to do that the next three days in practice getting ready for Idaho State."

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