Heard about it all preseason from Oklahoma basketball coach Lon Kruger how junior power forward Khadeem Lattin was going to have to become more of a scorer and that he could do just that.
The first impression was a good one for Lattin and the rest of the Sooners, rolling to a 97-61 victory against visiting Northwestern State on Sunday afternoon.
Lattin notched a career-high 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting and also grabbed 11 rebounds.
“It’s definitely new,” Lattin said. “But my teammates, we all do a really good job of moving the ball and we’re a pretty well-balanced team. We’re able to attack and do things from all parts on the floor. That’s pretty exciting.”
Lattin was able to get started in a big way as OU opened a 16-2, 22-4 leads based off its defensive intensity turning into easy buckets.
Freeman shines in debut
No first game nerves for forward Matt Freeman. Well, at least no outward showing of it. The redshirt freshman from New Zealand scored 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting and made three 3-pointers in the game.
“Whatever the stat sheet says, at the end of the day, the only stat that matters is we came together as a team after halftime, really came together,” Freeman said. “My stats were a reflection of that.”
Freeman led the bench that was able to deliver 41 points Sunday. Kruger said he’s excited about the depth of what this team can do.
“I think the depth of this team will be a strength at the beginning of the year,” Kruger said. “Different guys provide different things. Matt knocking down shots. Darrion pushing the ball in transition. I thought Jordan Shepard played well. Kam (McGusty) is going to provide scoring.
“It’ll be different guys at different times. It’s the second game in the row we got 10 buckets out of that five spot with Khadeem and Jamuni (McNeace). That’s good production there. This will be a a deep grow.”
Woodard sets tone
You know when it comes to this team it will be Lattin in the frontcourt and Jordan Woodard in the backcourt. It’s up to the senior to lead by example, and he did that fine against NW State.
It goes beyond the 16 points and five rebounds and three assists. Woodard didn’t turn the ball over and was aggressive in getting into the lane.
“I thought the way Jordan opened the game today was great, very aggressive, attacking, getting the defense on its heels, kicking to others and I think others fed off of that,” Kruger said. “That’s huge. Big part of what this group needs. Push the ball out of the backcourt, push the pace and dictate on both ends.”
“I’m gonna put it down to my poker face, to be honest with you. It was tough the first time I came out, the nerves were going. But when you get up and down the court, you get used to it.” – Matt Freeman on adjusting to his first game