Longar leads Sooners past Liberty, 74-48

Junior center Longar Longar hit 9-of-11 shots en route to his impressive 21-point night. It was the second-highest point total of Sudan native's career. Up next for the Sooners (2-0) is a date with 13th-ranked Memphis at the Maui Invitational on Monday.

Norman, Okla. —The Oklahoma men's basketball team ran their early season record to 2-0 beating outmanned Liberty 74-48 in front of a half-empty Lloyd Noble Center Thursday night in Norman.

For the second straight game, junior center Longar Longar led the way with 21 points and six rebounds, and freshman guard Tony Crocker scored a season- and career-high 18, including three first-half dunks, while also grabbing six rebounds. However, it was the Sooner defense that stole the show holding Liberty to 30.2 percent shooting for the game and 17.4 percent shooting in the first half.

The game was tied 8-8 early on, but the Sooners held Liberty to without a field goal for a 13 minute stretch of the first half while they the lead to 29-10 before the Flames made a bucket with 17 seconds left in the half.

"First of all, we are excited to get the win tonight," said OU head coach Jeff Capel following the game. "I thought our defense was terrific, especially early when we really attacked on the defensive end. We made it tough for them to make shots. We turned them over in the first half (12), but we did a great job on the boards all night. Things we all talked about after the Norfolk State game."

"I thought we did some OK things defensively in that game, but I thought we could really improve. We showed them those things on tape and we worked on it all week," Capel continued. "I thought we could have rebounded better against Norfolk State and we showed them the tape and talked about it, worked on it and I thought we did a very good job on the boards tonight.

"I thought our offense was OK. We just didn't make shots in the first half (12-for-33 for 36.4 percent), but they were shots we made last week. Last week, we were 11-18 from the 3-point line, but tonight we were 3-for-16. I think we are a good shooting team, but we just didn't hit shots tonight. We are pleased with the victory.

"We still know there is a lot that we have to work on. The level of competition, no disrespect (to Liberty), is going to go up when we go to Maui against a very good Memphis team. We are excited about the trip. We are excited to get going and we are excited about getting Mike (Neal) back. I am excited to see what this team can do with Mike in there."

Senior forward Nate Carter was the only other Sooner in double figures off the bench with 10 in 22 minutes. He also added nine rebounds. Sophomore forward Taylor Griffin took the game rebounding honors with 12 while also scoring nine points.

Senior guard Chris Walker gave another solid effort off the bench running the offense from the point scoring three points and grabbing four rebounds. Walker also is one of the Sooners' better defensive players.

With the win, the Sooners improve to 2-0. And they have done it in an impressive manner without their best player in Neal and top reserve point guard Bobby Maze.

"The first thing we wanted to do was to be 2-0 at this point," said Capel. "So, yeah, we are there and we just want to see progress. That is what we want to see. I think obviously you have seen progress in each game from Longar. You have seen progress from Tony Crocker. I think Taylor was better today, but he could still be a lot better. He needs to finish some of those baskets, some of those close baskets, and he needs to get better at the free throw line (2-5).

"I thought David Godbold did a tremendous job defensively tonight. Chris Walker was solid once again. We just want to see progress each day, whether it is game, practice or whatever. I think we have done that so far."

The Sooners won the rebounding battler against smaller Liberty 48-29. Flames' guard Larry Blair took game scoring honors with 23. He came into the game averaging 28 points per game.

The Sooners are now off to Maui where on Monday afternoon they will open with Memphis. The winner and loser of that game will matchup with the winner and loser of the Georgia Tech/Purdue game.

Chaminade, DePaul, Kentucky and UCLA are on the other side of the bracket. The Sooners next home game is December 2nd against TCU.

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