Men's basketball: Sooners look to continue victory against Texas-Arlington
Astrud Reed, The Oklahoma Daily
The OU men’s basketball team will head south of the Red River to take on Texas-Arlington at 7 tonight for its first road game of the young season.
The Sooners opened the season with an 85-51 drubbing of Louisiana-Monroe on Sunday afternoon and will be looking to build on the victory Friday.
“For an opener, I thought there were stretches of a lot of good things, and as you might expect, certainly a lot of things that we need to continue working on,” coach Lon Kruger said. “I thought we took better care of the ball [against UL Monroe], didn’t have as many turnovers (and) rebounded the ball much better.”
But the Mavericks, who won 24 games last season and received a bid to the NIT, should pose a much greater challenge than ULM.
“We expect it to be a very tough atmosphere,” Kruger said. “They’re expecting a full house with Homecoming activities and the official opening of their new building. We know it will be tough and a challenge, but a good experience for our guys.”
UT Arlington is coming off a 62-60 nail-biter on the road against California State-Bakersfield to add to the excitement of playing its first game in College Park Center, but the Sooners are looking forward to their first road test.
“It’s my first road trip in over a year and a half, so I’m kind of anxious about that,” junior forward Amath M’Baye. “I’m really looking forward to it. I know we have a fun group of guys and a good group of guys. Traveling with them should be easy, fun and I’m really looking forward to playing in a hostile environment.”
The Sooners embrace the challenge of playing on the road and see it as an opportunity to gain experience that will be valuable come conference play.
“There are a lot of elements going against you (when you’re playing away from home),” senior forward Romero Osby said. “It’s a whole different environment than what you’re used to. It really tries to take you out of your comfort zone, which is a good thing that we’re doing this early in the season, so when we get ready to go into Big 12 (play), we’ll be ready to go on the road and make some things happen.”
The Sooners are 5-0 all-time against UT Arlington, but Friday will be the first time the two teams have met outside of Norman, and the Sooners are just 1-9 in their last 10 road games.
Friday also will be OU’s earliest road game in a season since the Sooners played Michigan State on Nov. 14, 2001 — a game the Sooners lost, 55-67.