PARIS -- The University of Oklahoma men's basketball team won its three games in Belgium last week by 20, 18 and 21 points. Wednesday night in France, the Sooners raised the bar in a 109-64 victory over La St. Charles, a local team from Charenton/St. Maurice.
OU scored first and never trailed in the 45-point win, as its suffocating perimeter pressure and defense around the rim kept La St. Charles from having any kind of sustained offensive success. The Sooners forced 23 turnovers, registered eight blocked shots and held La St. Charles to 35.5 percent field goal shooting.
On the Sooners' end of the floor, highlight plays were aplenty. Six players scored in double figures, led by Cameron Clark's game-high 23 points. The senior guard/forward was 10-for-17 from the field and added seven rebounds.
Junior D.J. Bennett and sophomores Isaiah Cousins and Ryan Spangler each scored 14 points, while sophomore Je'lon Hornbeak and senior Tyler Neal contributed 11 points each. Bennett (13 rebounds) and Neal (11 boards) each finished with double-doubles.
"After three or four days of not playing, it was good to see the activity and the energy (tonight)," said OU head coach Lon Kruger. "I thought the guys really bounced out and were really quick out of the backcourt with the ball. They were very active on the boards, moved the ball well again. A lot of different guys played well individually, and we played well as a team."
Kruger said he was pleased with everyone's play, and expounded upon Bennett.
"Really good to see D.J. doing that," said Kruger. "Not playing last year at all, he really worked hard to make progress on his game and, obviously, he's done that. Nice to see that translate into more of a live situation."
The Sooners jumped out to a 12-3 lead only to see their advantage dwindle to one at 14-13. From there, OU rolled. Kruger's squad led 28-19 after the first quarter, 57-35 at halftime and 83-49 after the third quarter.
OU shot .526 from the field, .272 (6-for-22) from the 3-point line and .636 (21-for-33) from the free throw line. It was 35-for-56 (.625) on two-point field goals. The Sooners registered 11 steals but committed 18 turnovers, their most on the trip.
"It was fun out there tonight," said Clark, who is averaging 17.3 points on .608 field goal shooting through OU's four games. "There was a lot of intensity. My teammates got me some open looks with their penetration, and on the inside I just tried to attack their big men and get to the line."
Freshman point guard Jordan Woodard handed out eight assists (seven in the second half), several of them alley-oop passes to his frontcourt teammates for dunks. He also had three steals, giving him nine over the last two games.
Fellow freshman Frank Booker contributed eight points, while redshirt-freshman C.J. Cole was 3-for-4 from the floor and finished with six points and five boards. Junior walk-on James Fraschilla scored his first two points of the trip, going 2-for-2 from the free throw line in the first half.
In addition to the fans in OU's travel party, the team was supported Wednesday night in the stands by Jeff and Marcy Carpenter and their daughter, Ellie, and son, Chris. The Carpenters are Sooner backers living in Austin, Texas (Jeff is originally from Norman), who are on the first leg of a long trip away from home that will also take them to Italy, Croatia, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
"We're on a five-month vacation," said Jeff Carpenter after the game, "and have been gone for three weeks. The kids have been a little bit homesick, but getting to see the Sooners play live has really helped them feel better about this trip. It's brought a little piece of home all the way to Paris, so we're really glad we came to watch."
OU concludes its five-game European exhibition tour Thursday with an 8 p.m. (1 p.m. CT) contest against Evreaux in France. The Sooners will return home to Norman on Friday.