3 take­aways from OU’s win against UT-Rio Grande Val­ley


Ok­la­homa opened its sea­son with a 91-76 win at UT-Rio Grande Val­ley on Fri­day night in Ed­in­burg, Texas.

Here are three take­aways from the game:

Chris­tian James has ca­reer night

The se­nior guard poured in a ca­reer-high 28 points on 9 of 17 shoot­ing with three re­bounds and two steals.

James was 4 of 10 from 3-point range. It was the most im­pres­sive in­di­vid­ual shoot­ing dis­play on a night when the Soon­ers were di­aled in. OU was 11 of 23 (48 per­cent) from be­hind the arc.

James has pri­mar­ily been a spot-up shooter in his Sooner ca­reer, but he looked com­fort­able Fri­day night putting the ball on the floor. The of­fense ran through him.

Cal­ixte im­presses in de­but

OU's point guard sit­u­a­tion couldn't be more dif­fer­ent than last year's. Trae Young, a fresh­man phe­nom, has been re­placed by Aaron Cal­ixte, a grad­u­ate trans­fer from Maine.

So far so good for the Soon­ers. Cal­ixte not only fa­cil­i­tated the of­fense — al­ready flash­ing a two-man game with cen­ter Ja­muni McNeace — but he showed off a smooth 3-point stroke.

Cal­ixte was a 39 per­cent 3-point shooter at Maine, and he was 3 of 4 from deep in his OU de­but. He might not be as tall as his 5-foot11 list­ing, but his ball han­dling was good enough to nav­i­gate an over­matched UT-Rio Grande Val­ley de­fense.

Cal­ixte has a nifty hes­i­ta­tion step off the drib­ble that he uses to set up slower de­fend­ers.

The Soon­ers have an in­ter­est­ing dynamic at point guard with the smooth-play­ing Cal­ixte and the wiry 6-foot-4 fresh­man Ja­mal Bie­niemy back­ing him up.

11-man bas­ket­ball

Lon Kruger's sub­sti­tu­tion pat­terns mir­rored an ex­hi­bi­tion game early on. Kruger played 11 men by the 12-minute mark in the first half. The mass sub­sti­tu­tions didn't con­tinue in the sec­ond half.

OU went with a start­ing lineup of Cal­ixte, James, Kris­tian Dootlit­tle, Brady Manek and McNeace. James had a team-high 36 min­utes fol­lowed by Manek with 30.

Bie­niemy, ju­nior col­lege trans­fer cen­ter Kur Kuath and se­nior guard Rashard Odomes were the first three men off the bench. Then came grad trans­fer guard Miles Reynolds, ju­nior for­ward Matt Free­man and sopho­more cen­ter Hannes Polla.

Though it's just a onegame sam­ple, it's un­clear who will be OU's pri­mary scorer off the bench. OU's bench fin­ished with 19 points, but scored just two buck­ets in the first half.

Ex­pect Kruger to toy with his ro­ta­tion through­out non-con­fer­ence play.

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