Crocker Goes Off!

Tony Crocker had a dominating defensive performance in the Sooners second round NCAA win and he cameoit on Friday night to show everyone in the country that he has some playmaking ability.

To say junior guard Tony Crocker had been struggling shooting the ball going into Friday's South Regional Semifinal against Syracuse probably would have been an understatement

Crocker had hit only three of his last 21 attempts from behind the arc over a seven-game span.

But he broke out in a big way against the Orange, hitting twice as many threes as he had in those seven games combined and posting a 9-for-11 mark from the field for a career high 28 points.

And it started from the get-go, as Crocker led off the Sooners with a three just 38 seconds into the game.

"It meant a lot," Crocker said. "When you're struggling, after a while, making that first shot always makes it better."

Crocker said his performance was a matter of time and a factor of the extra work he put in.

"Yeah, I did a lot of extra shooting before and after practice," Crocker said. "I was just hoping it all paid off. I felt good shooting around and everything. So, I just had a feeling they were all going to go in."

Crocker said one stabilizing factor in breaking out of the recent slump is that head coach Jeff Capel has remained confident in his ability.

"He stuck with me, you know, never took me out during that last game after struggling shooting and everything," Crocker said.

Capel said that there was one major reason he didn't sit Crocker.

"I just think sometimes, you know, if I would have sat him or benched him, that could have destroyed him where you don't get him back," Capel said. "So we stuck with him because I believe in him."

That was a big confidence booster for Crocker.

"Because he has faith in that I can, you know, make shots whenever I get open ones. They just didn't fall last time. He's been there encouraging me and asking what he can do to help throughout the whole season really."

He said Capel just said one thing to encourage him during the slump. "[He said] just take your open shots when you're open," Crocker said. "You know, step up with confidence and knock it down."

Crocker said throughout the shooting woes hesitating to shoot was never really an issue.

"I guess, when you're marked as like a shooter, you have to keep shooting," Crocker said. "If you're missing, you've just got to think it off and just go to the next shot and keep going because you can't just not shoot when you're wide open."


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