Full-court press: Missouri

Sooners face old conference foe in SEC/Big 12 Challenge matchup

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Missouri (4-3) at No. 22 Oklahoma (4-2)

When: 8:35 p.m. CST

TV/Radio: ESPNU/107.7 FM(OKC); 1430 AM (Tulsa)

Gotta clean it up

Oklahoma has 67 turnovers in the past four games and at least 16 turnovers in three of the past four. That would have been fine last year, when Oklahoma was scoring at one of the highest clips in that country. This year is a little different.

Combine that with a team shooting percentage of less than 40 percent, and there are things that need to be cleaned up for the Sooners.

Missouri isn’t the high-octane defense it used to be before the Tigers left for the SEC, but there will still be a test Friday – and Oklahoma would be best suited to play better than it did in the Bahamas.

“We haven’t done enough yet,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said when asked if the team is shooting too many jumpers. “That’s one of the things we are going to continue to search for a little bit: More attack, more going to the free throw line. We’ve gotta get it to the block a little more. All those things.”

Asking for atmosphere

Kruger sent out an open letter to fans this week, asking – or pleading – them to come to the game Friday.

It’s no secret that the Oklahoma crowds have been less than impressive in the past few years, especially during the non-conference season.

Kruger is hoping that the matchup, which is a part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, will help spark some interest.

“We hope for a great crowd,” Kruger said. “It’s a good opponent. . . . Hopefully, there will be a big crowd.”

The start of a lazy stretch

During the Battle 4 Atlantis, Oklahoma played three games in three days. During the next month, the Sooners will barely play three games in two weeks at any point.

In December, Oklahoma will play just six games.

This is the final time for Oklahoma, which opens Big 12 play on Jan. 3 against Baylor, to fine tune itself on the offensive end, where it has surprisingly struggled.

“We know we need to improve on offense, we don’t really have a flow of that yet,” forward TaShawn Thomas said. “We’re better than we thought we were on defense. This week, we’ve just been working on offense – getting stuff done and adding new stuff in that they think will work. We just try to keep our defense pure and sharp.”

The Sooners will play just two games away from home in the next month: At Tulsa on Dec. 13 and in Las Vegas against Washington on Dec. 20.

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