Balanced Sooners Open Season with 97-61 Win
|Points||Woodley - 19||Lattin - 19|
|Rebounds||Metoyer - 6||Lattin - 11|
|Assists||Hall - 3||Odomes - 5|
|Steals||Two Players - 2||Odomes - 3|
|Blocks||None||McNeace - 3|
NORMAN — Khadeem Lattin showed he could also be a force on the offensive end for Oklahoma during the Sooners' season opener on Sunday.
The junior forward, mostly called upon for his defense to this point in his career, showed his offensive chops against Northwestern State, posting a career-high 19 points to go with 11 rebounds and lifting Oklahoma to a 97-61 rout.
The only other returning starter from last season's Final Four team, Jordan Woodard, added 16 points for Oklahoma (1-0). Coach Lon Kruger subbed early and often as 10 Sooners scored in the first half while Oklahoma raced to a 46-27 lead.
Oklahoma has won 14 straight season openers and 19 straight home openers. The Sooners improved to 31-2 at home against nonconference opponents under Kruger.
"This group is going to make progress all the way through March," Kruger said. ". It's going to be a work in progress for a while, but I'm excited to see where they go and who steps up and who is doing what roles. Being that much different than last year is one of the more intriguing, enjoyable parts of this team - the uncertainty of what lies ahead and who does what."
Lattin was 7 of 9 from the field against Northwestern State (0-2). He had two baskets in an 18-2 run to start the game. After the Demons closed to 35-24, Lattin added two more during the final 4:24 of the half. The double-double was the third of his career.
He said it was a different feeling to be an offensive focal point for the Sooners.
"You change the way you think, but you always just want the best results for your team," Lattin said. "My teammates, we all do a really good job of moving the ball and we're a really well-balanced team. We are able to attack and do things from all parts of the floor and that's really exciting."
Zeek Woodley, the second-leading career scorer in NCAA Division I, led Northwestern State with 19 points, and Ishmael Lane and Malik Metoyer added 11 and 10, respectively. But there wasn't much else positive for the Demons, coach Mike McConathy said.
Lane "played hard but he couldn't finish plays," McConathy said. "Zeek Woodley had a good line and Malik Metoyer . really had a lot of pop to him. Zeek is kind of a non-traditional player in that he is very efficient offensively. He's very smooth. He kind of moves like he's loafing, but he's moving. I thought he competed well."
Up next, Oklahoma heads to the Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla., for the eight-team Tire Pros Invitational. The Sooners open tournament play against Tulane on Thursday, Nov. 17, at 6 p.m. CT on ESPNU. OU will face either Arizona State or Northern Iowa in the second round. The remaining tournament participants are Clemson, Davidson, Missouri and Xavier.