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OU Hoops Gets Set To Play In Tire Pros Invitational

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ORLANDO, Florida -

While the football team is busy trying to close out a run to the Big 12 Championship, the Oklahoma basketball team is just getting the season started with a trip to Orlando for the Tire Pros Invitational.

Related: Sooners Pickup Big Win In Season Opener

Lon Kruger is 5-0 all-time at OU in opening round games of tournaments, and he’ll try to continue his winning ways when the Sooners square off with Tulane (1-1) on Thursday night at 6 p.m.

Here are a few things to know about the matchup:

OU looking for 2-0 start

The Sooners started the season off on a positive note on Sunday with a 97-61 win over Northwestern State inside of the Lloyd Noble Center.

While Northwestern State cut into the lead a bit in the second half, the Sooners were ultimately able to pull away thanks to strong performances by both Khadeem Lattin and Jordan Woodard. The Sooners started the game on an 18-to-2 run and led by double digits for 36 of the 40 minutes. This isn’t the same OU team as last season, but the Sooners still managed to knock down 50 percent (9-18) of their outside shots while outrebounding the Demons 41-to-31.

Even though the competition will only get better as the season goes on, it was encouraging to see such a young team step up and play efficiently. With six players making their debut in the game, it was New Zealander Matt Freeman who shined brightest. The redshirt freshman scored 15 points while knocking down 3-of-4 shots from behind the arc.

Khadeem Lattin thriving

While he was mostly a role player on last year’s Final Four team, Khadeem Lattin is now one of the team leaders and he definitely played like it on Sunday. Lattin scored a career-high 19 points while completing the double-double with 11 rebounds to go with two blocks. He was a big force on both sides of the ball while showing a lot of improvement from his sophomore season.

Both he and Woodard (16 points) will be relied on a lot more this year as the only two returning starters, and through one game they’re off to a very good start.

Scouting Tulane

The Green Wave lost their opening game of the season to North Carolina (95-75) but bounced back nicely to beat Southeastern Louisiana by 17 points on Monday night.

This is Mike Dunleavy Sr.’s first year as the Tulane head coach after spending 20 years in the NBA as the coach of teams such as the Lakers, Blazers, Bucks and Clippers. While he’s a rookie coach at the college level, he clearly knows what he’s doing after being around the game for so long.

Cameron Reynolds and Kain Harris both lead the Green Wave in scoring at 17 points per game each while four players average in double digits. 

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