Sooners welcome much needed break

NORMAN, Okla. — There's really no other way to put it; the first part of the 2012-13 season has been a grind for the Sooners.

A combined 12 points have decided four of the first eight games—the Sooners have won three of those four—and another two have been seven-point decisions.

The Sooners were unlucky in a close ball game for the first time the other night at Arkansas in an 81-78 setback.

But they earlier eked out 63-62 and 63-59 decisions at Oral Roberts and UT-Arlington, respectively.

So, that's all the reason why this 11-day break in between contests is very timely.

A little break to catch their breath after a fierce start.

"Just like we had a tough first part of the schedule, and we just have to take care of our bodies and relax for a little bit," said forward Amath M'Baye. "We get a day off tomorrow, and I think everybody's gonna enjoy that."

Not only will they get some time to heal up and take a breather, but they'll also be able to fine-tune some things.

"Good stretch of practices to work on things individually as well as a group, but a lot more individual breakdown, individual work," said OU head coach Lon Kruger. "It's not like you're preparing for a game every third or fourth day, so that gives you the freedom to do some things differently."

In fact, the Sooners won't play again until they meet former Big 12 foe Texas A&M in the All-College Classic Dec. 15 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

So, that's ample time to make the corrections that could have resulted in perhaps another victory in their latest contest, though they've undoubtedly been fortunate to win some of the other battles they've had to this point.

"Once we get back, I mean obviously we've got a lot to improve, like a lot of teams in the country at this point," M'Baye said. "But I think it's good that we get a little break right here so the coaches can really focus on what we need to improve and the players can just really come in and just do the work and just improve like while we can."

As for now, they'll put that next game on the backburner for a bit and take care of business in the classroom.

"I mean so far this has been our first practice for that, and we haven't really done anything for that game," said OU guard Steven Pledger. "Coach just right now is preaching more about academics, but once we get the film right and start studying film on them, we'll start talking about it."

The good thing is they have time, time to recuperate and get ready for the final part of non-conference play after a grueling first month.

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