Clark leads the way in exhibition opener

True freshman Keith Clark (pictured) came off the bench to score a game-high 18 points in Oklahoma's 79-51 win over Oklahoma Christian Tuesday night in Norman.

The Oklahoma men's basketball opened the Jeff Capel era and the exhibition season with a 79-51 win over Oklahoma Christian in front of an estimated 4,100 fans at the Lloyd Noble Center Tuesday night in Norman.

"We were really excited to play against someone besides ourselves," said Capel. "I thought we did some really good things tonight — 19 assists with only six turnovers. I thought we did a good job valuing the basketball. Obviously we made some shots early, we had six 3s in the first half. I thought some individual guys did some good things.

"Defensively, I thought our pressure bothered them a little bit, maybe made them play a little bit faster. We're pleased with the win. We have a lot of things to work on. We'll get back and show some tape, start working, trying to get better."

In all, Oklahoma had 19 assists against just six turnovers as they really took care of the basketball. OU barely won the rebounding battle, 38-37, but they shot 47.1 from the field while holding the Eagles to just 35.8 percent. The Sooners were 9-for-22 3-pointers, but were a disapponting 6-for-14 from the free throw line.

Freshman forward Keith Clark led the way for the Sooners off the bench with a team-high 18 points, including two 3-pointers from the top of the key.

"Obviously, Moose (Keith Clark) scored the basketball for us," Capel said. "He made some good post moves and hit a couple of 3s. He has to rebound better for us. He had no defensive rebounds. He has to do a better job from that aspect. Keith's a guy that can rebound and push it for us and we need him to do that.

Longar Longar scored 15 points and grabbed six rebounds in his first start and showed some of the promise that has been talked about for some time. He still needs to utilize his height and length better, but that will come with time.

David Godbold continues to improve, but he had a great line of 12 points, a team-high eight rebounds, fours assist, one turnover and two steals. Godbold is a super athlete whose talents could take off in OU head coach Jeff Capel's offense.

Taylor Griffin started and showed a good all around floor game. Despite fouling out, Griffin finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and seemed to relax as the game went along. The more he plays the better off he will be as he relaxes and learns to trust his insticts on the floor.

Michael Neal never forced his shot, taking only six to finish with seven points, three rebounds and four assists with no turnovers. The Sooners will need to get Neal more shots if they hope to be successful this year, but he wasn't forcing anything. However, at some point the Sooners are going to have to get him open and he will need to take 10 to 15 shots a game.

Neal, Godbold and Austin Johnson were very good defensively on the floor at the guard spot and Tony Crocker, Bobby Maze and Chris Walker were the same off the bench.

Crocker is the WOW factor for the Sooners. The athletic freshman had a fantastic dunk on a fastbreak and just missed another one earlier in the game on an alley-oop attempt. He also hit a 3-pointer and finished with nine points and two rebounds in his first action for the Sooners. He is a tremendous athlete and has a chance to be special.

"I thought Tony Crocker played really well tonight," said Capel. "He did some nice things defensively. He had a tough match-up when he came in. He was guarding (Keith) Harris. I think Keith Harris is a really good player. Tony did some good things. He got out in transition. He made some athletic plays to the basket. He had a couple shots. He is becoming a really good player."

It has probably been a long time since Bobby Maze hasn't scored a point in a game, but that was the case tonight. However, he still had a good game running the team for most of the second half finishing with two assists and only one turnover.

Senior Nate Carter did not play because of a groin injury.

The Sooners seem to operate in their new offense pretty well and did a good job overplaying on defense, as they created 19 turnovers.

Oklahoma's final exhibition game will be Sunday against Central Missouri State at 2:00 p.m. The Sooners will tip-off the regular season Friday, November 10 against Norfolk State at 7 p.m. inside the LNC.

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