Justin Hite - Scout

Oklahoma Sooners make easy work of Mid-America Christian in exhibition win

Front-court proves worthy, OU ready to start the season after exhibitions

Oklahoma concluded its 2015-16 preseason schedule Thursday night at Lloyd Noble Center with a 98-76 victory against Mid-American Christian.

Here are three major points from the win: 

1. Fresher in the frontcourt

Jamuni McNeace sprung off the floor for four blocks Thursday night and still had energy to celebrate after a thunderous dunk from forward Dante Buford.

Ryan Spangler posted another effective night – 19 points and six rebounds in just 26 minutes of action. Even C.J. Cole got in on the action with six points and seven rebounds in just 10 minutes.

The increased depth on the Sooners front line hasn’t seemed to cause any lost rhythm. It’s provided more explosiveness, energy and competition through the first two preseason games and 40-or-so practices.

“It’s a fight for a spot,” McNeace said. “. . . I feel like that competition makes us better; Makes us want to go out there and play even harder when we get on the court. I feel like it’s a good thing.”

Oklahoma made short work of MACU, which doesn’t have a player listed at taller than 6-foot-7, inside. The Evangels had no real answer.

The Sooners’ post players combined for 26 rebounds and 42 points on 15-for-23 shooting. No one shot worse than 50 percent.

“It’s going to be an effort by committee,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “Different guys on different nights are going to step up and get the job done. We like that group. We like the direction they’re headed.”

2. A starting point Oklahoma likes

The most anticipated season in nearly a decade is just a few days away from officially beginning, and the Sooners like their starting point.

Oklahoma has posted back-to-back 20-plus point victories in the exhibition season, including a strong first half defensive performance against one of the top NAIA programs in the country. There’s room to grow, though.

“I like our starting point, but it’s the starting point,” Kruger said. “We have to get better. That’s no surprise. Everyone after two exhibition games feels like they need to get better. We certainly do.”

Oklahoma never pulled away from Mid-American Christian in the victory but held a steady double-digit lead for much of the game after holding the Evangels to 34.1 percent shooting from the field in the first half.

3. Manyang dresses out, still not ready

After going through practice multiple times this past week, Oklahoma center Akolda Manyang dressed out for Thursday’s victory and went through warm-ups.

He never saw action as the Sooners continue to avoid rushing him back after multiple injuries to his right foot. Manyang has been cleared to play as much as he can, but after going through lay-up lines, he watched the whole game from the bench.

“Probably as much mental, in terms of trusting it, as it is physical,” Kruger said earlier in the week. “From a physical standpoint, he’s ok. He’s tried to go a few other times on it and aggravated it and set it back.”

Kruger said this week that Manyang still wasn’t running with a normal stride and had trouble moving around. He hasn’t done anything at full speed since June.


Sooners Illustrated Top Stories