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Oklahoma Men's Basketball Opens Season With Win

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NORMAN, Oklahoma -

The Oklahoma Sooners men's basketball team got the 2012-13 season off to a solid start Sunday afternoon at Lloyd Noble Center, downing Louisiana-Monroe 85-51.

Senior Steven Pledger led a balanced Sooner attack with 15 points, hitting 5-for-9 from three-point distance. Andrew Fitzgerald and Amath M'Baye each scored 12 points, while freshman Je'lon Hornbeak scored 10. Total, seven Sooners scored at least nine points.

"For an opener I thought there were stretches of a lot of good things and certainly a lot of things we need to continue working on," OU head coach Lon Kruger said. "I thought we took a lot better care of the ball today. We didn't have as many turnovers and we rebounded the ball; those are two areas where we did much better than we performed in the two exhibition games."

Amos Olatayo led the Warhawks with 21 points.

The Sooners shot 47 percent including 9-for-23 from three-point range, while holding ULM to just 34.5 percent shooting.

The game was close early, with the Sooners holding a scant 12-11 lead at the under 12 minute media timeout.

"We didn't open it up really sharp," Kruger said. "I thought we were on our heels defensively; we were kind of watching as opposed to dictating. We did create some opportunities with our steals and traps which seemed to get us jump-started a little bit after getting off to a slow start."

When play resumed, Oklahoma went on a 24-5 run to extend their lead to 20. The Sooners went into halftime up 38-22.

After the break, the Sooners hit three-pointers on three consecutive possessions, and extended their lead to 29 at 55-26 with 15:47 remaining in the game.

Depth has been a big talking point for this OU team, and 12 players saw the court Sunday, with 10 playing at least 14 minutes.

"It felt good to be able to be out there and play as hard as we possibly could, come off the court and see somebody else go in and there not be any (dropoff)," OU forward Romero Osby said. "Guys were coming in and speeding it up, and we'd pick up right where we left off."

The Sooners are back in action Friday night, when they travel to Arlington to take on the Mavericks of UT-Arlington at 7 p.m.

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