Sooners Win Again In Belgium

Friday, August 9th 2013, 9:44 pm
By: News 9

For the second straight night, a pair of Sooners reached the 20-point mark to help the Oklahoma men's basketball team to an exhibition win in Europe.

After Cameron Clark and Jordan Woodard each scored 20 points in Thursday night's 20-point win over Ghent, sophomore guard Isaiah Cousins netted a game-high 23 points and junior forward D.J. Bennett contributed 20 points off the bench in OU's comfortable 84-66 victory over Belgian semi-pro foe Waregem inside Rosco Arena in Ronse, Belgium.

Cousins got off to a strong start and kept his foot on the gas all night. The Mount Vernon, N.Y., product was 7-for-9 from the field in the first half and finished 11-for-15 while adding two assists and three steals. The most points he scored in a game during his 2012-13 freshman season was 10. He also totaled 12 points on Thursday.

The lanky 6-9 Bennett was also consistently effective in the game, scoring 10 points and grabbing four boards in each half. He finished 7-for-10 from the floor and 6-for-9 from the foul line.

"Another good experience, another good effort," said OU head coach Lon Kruger. "Thought the energy level was good, moved the ball well. I thought Je'lon did a really good job of battling. We got into some foul trouble early and he battled through some fatigue and did a great job. Isaiah made some nice plays. A lot of guys played well."

Kruger seemed especially pleased by the fact it appears he has several legitimate scoring options. So far through two exhibition games, eight different players have produced at least 14 points in a contest.

"It's good to see," he said. "It's not like we have to rely on one guy, who, if he has an off night it's going to be tough. Other guys can pick up the slack and I think we're going to see pretty balanced scoring."

Sophomore guard Je'lon Hornbeak finished with 16 points on 5-for-7 shooting (3-for-4 from 3-point range). He scored 14 of his 16 in the second quarter to help OU take a 51-33 halftime lead. Hornbeak, who did not attempt a shot in the second half, added three assists and four steals on the night. He has eight steals in the team's two games.

Unlike Thursday night, the Sooners played from in front virtually the entire game against Waregem. In fact, OU's only deficits were 16-15 and 18-17 (end of first quarter).

OU erupted for 34 second-quarter points while limiting Waregem to 15. The Sooners took their largest lead (72-48) with 45 seconds left in third period. They were still up by 23 with 2:55 remaining in the game before Waregem scored the final five points.

The highlight of the night came with 5:18 remaining when Bennett took an alley-oop inbound pass from Hornbeak and slammed it home with two hands. The emphatic jam brought a loud ovation from the Belgian crowd.

"Mostly I just try to do what (Coach Kruger) tells me to do," said Bennett, who redshirted last year after transferring from junior college. "I've got to be a role player. That's what he recruited me for. I'm just blessed to have this opportunity and I do what I can. Just try to contribute however."

The Sooners were a menace on the defensive end, forcing 25 turnovers. They committed 14.

Waregem, a member of Belgium's Division II semi-pro league, was led by Thomas Foucart's 20 points and Bart Willy Samaey's 17.

The Sooners play for a third straight day when they take on St. Jan - Antwerp in Antwerp, Belgium, on Saturday at 2 p.m. local time (7 a.m. CT). OU closes its European tour with a pair of games in France next Wednesday and Thursday.