Saturday, November 19, 2011

Steven Pledger leads Oklahoma over Coppin State


— Steven Pledger said he felt some nerves Friday night.

It didn't show much. The Oklahoma guard, who returned from a one-game suspension, scored 20 points as Oklahoma beat Coppin State 92-65 on Friday night.

Pledger was 8 of 14 from the field and made three 3-pointers.

"I was kind of nervous. It was the first game and back but we came out with the win. I like that," Pledger said.

Pledger didn't play in the season opener after being suspended for a violation of NCAA rules, playing without permission in a summer league game.

His return, new coach Lon Kruger's up-tempo style and a dominant rebounding effort lifted Oklahoma (2-0).

"Guys are doing a good job of attacking and pushing it," Kruger said. "They are aggressive with it. It's good to see."

The Sooners' 92 points topped last year's season high of 84 points. Eleven players scored for Oklahoma.

"There are some stretches we'd like to clean up, but still, it's the second game," Kruger said. "I thought the guys approached it well."

Oklahoma outrebounded Coppin State 61-27.

Calvin Newell scored 14 points for the Sooners, and Romero Osby had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Tony Gallo had 22 points and Logan Wiens added 13 for the Eagles (1-2).

Before the game, a moment of silence was held in memory of four people, including Oklahoma State women's basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna, who died in a plane crash in Arkansas on Thursday.

The Sooners led 42-23 in the first half as Coppin State shot just 23-percent and turned it over eight times. The Sooners outrebounded Coppin State 34-14 in the first half. Thirteen of Coppin State's first 14 shots were 3-pointers and 20 of their 26 shots in the first half were 3-pointers.

The Sooners weren't sharp, but they were effective enough. Oklahoma had 15 turnovers, but offset that by making 10 of 24 3-point attempts.

Coppin State fired 20 3-pointers in the first half alone and finished with 33 tries behind the arc, making just nine. The Eagles shot 36.4 percent for the game and had 15 turnovers.

"A good second game," Kruger said. "We have a lot of work ahead and we look forward to it."

The Sooners got 28 fast-break points to Coppin State's nine. Oklahoma had 34 points in the paint.

Pledger is the Sooners' leading returning scorer from a season ago (10.9 points per game), with a high of 38 points against Iowa State.

"He shoots the ball great," Kruger said. "But he does so much more. He makes plays for others. You notice the shots he makes but he does so many other things, too."


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