pened to me. Perhaps not as many sacks of c
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NORMAN, Okla. -- With his Oklahoma Sooners looking listless and trailing upstart Abilene Christian at halftime on Friday, coach Lon Kruger switched two of his starters for the second half, looking for some sort of spark.Rashard Odomes, one of the benched starters, received the message. Once he exited the bench, he scored seven of his 13 points during a three-minute span midway through the second half, helping Oklahoma turn a two-point lead into a nine-point advantage -- a run that proved decisive in a 72-64 win.Jordan Woodard scored 16 points for Oklahoma (4-1), which had to rally from an early 10-point deficit. Oklahoma won for the 58th time in its last 60 nonconference home games, but the Sooners -- a Final Four team a season ago, albeit with only two returning starters -- struggled mightily against Abilene Christian (2-2), a Southland Conference program in its final year of transition from NCAA Division II into Division I.Abilene Christian was much the aggressor in the first half, Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. We came back with a little bit better energy in the second half, but not (with) the number of good possessions that we need to have in a ball game. Theres a lot to learn from that one. Credit to Abilene Christian for how well they played and how hard they played. Hopefully it got our attention a little bit.The Sooners overcame poor shooting from the field (36.4 percent) and the free-throw line (63 percent) and the smaller Wildcats outrebounded Oklahoma 42-40.The Wildcats were up 30-26 at halftime and were tied with Oklahoma as late as the 13-minute mark. But their top player, Jaylen Franklin, left the game with an apparent knee injury with 14:51 left after scoring 11 points and didnt return. The Wildcats proved unable to keep up with Oklahoma down the stretch in his absence.Abilene Christians propensity for fouling proved to be its undoing. The Wildcats committed 32 fouls and Oklahoma ended up shooting 46 free throws, making 29, while Abilene Christian went 9 of 19 from the line. The Wildcats outscored Oklahoma 55-43 from the field despite committing 22 turnovers.When you go through transition, you play a bunch of these games, Abilene Christian coach Joe Golding said. Obviously, were trying to turn the program where we can come in here and compete in these games. If we keep competing, well eventually get one.Abilene Christian wasnt expected to offer much resistance against the Sooners. Abilene Christian was coming off a home loss to Charleston Southern and the Wildcats win in their most recent road game, at New Hampshire on Nov. 17, had ended their 20-game nonconference road losing streak that dated to November 2011.Even so, the Wildcats overcame 16 fouls to lead at halftime, having trailed for all of 23 seconds to that point. They used a 7-1 run to build a 15-5 lead on a layup by Jaren Lewis at the 12:35 mark. Consecutive baskets by Franklin in the final 73 seconds of the half gave Abilene Christian its four-point halftime lead.A 3-pointer by Jovan Crnik gave the Wildcats their last lead at 33-32 with 18:28 left. Woodard answered with a 3-pointer for Oklahoma and with the score tied 39-39, he threw an inbound pass off the back of Abilene Christians Hayden Howell, grabbed the carom and laid the ball in the basket while being fouled. He hit the free throw with 12:46 left and the Sooners led the rest of the way.Odomes had two baskets and went 3 for 5 from the line during his second-half flurry and Darrion Strong-Moores 3-pointer put the Sooners up 54-45 with 7:53 left. With Abilene Christian within 64-59, Odomes drove the lane and dunked to start an 8-0 run that sealed the win for Oklahoma.Weve just got to get back in the lab, back in the gym, and get some reps in in practice and get things going again, Woodard said.Lewis finished with 12 rebounds and eight points for Abilene Christian, while Khadeem Lattin had nine points and nine rebounds for Oklahoma.BIG PICTURE:Abilene Christian: It can only get easier schedule-wise for the Wildcats, as Oklahoma was the only major-conference foe on their schedule. The rest of Abilene Christians nonconference slate will be against teams with which the Wildcats should be competitive, with one tough test at New Mexico next week.Oklahoma: After taking third in the Tire Pros Invitational in Orlando, the Sooners showed they still have plenty of kinks to work out before facing tougher opponents like Wisconsin, Wichita State and Memphis.TIP-INS:Woodard, a senior point guard, jumped two spots to No. 25 on the Sooners career scoring list with his 16-point outing. Woodard, who now has 1,236 career points, passed former NBA player Garfield Heard and David Little. . Oklahoma is 3-0 all-time against Abilene Christian, having won by 24 points in December 1969 and 49 points in December 1982, a game in which Wayman Tisdale scored 51 points on a still-standing school-record 22 field goals.QUOTABLE:They had a big tournament trip . and they come back here and its tough to motivate them. We probably dont motivate them like some teams do. Im sure there was some waking up on (their part). But they woke up. Theyve got a good team. Theyre going to be really good down the road. You can tell the pieces are there for them. -- Golding on the Sooners performance against Abilene Christian.UP NEXT:Abilene Christian: Returns home for a game against Division III Howard Payne (Texas) on Sunday before a Wednesday road trip to another marquee foe, New Mexico.Oklahoma: Hosts Northern Colorado on Tuesday to prep for what figures to be a tough nonconference road game at Wisconsin on Dec. 3. Pink Vikings Jerseys .C. -- Al Jefferson joked that he feels he can score from anywhere on the court. Youth Vikings Jerseys . After a replay, the winner will meet Sunderland in the quarterfinals. Sagbo did well to control Sone Alukos right cross and fire past Brighton goalkeeper Peter Brezovan. Aluko was making his first start in four months after recovering from an Achilles injury. http://www.officialvikingsnflauthenticshop.com/ . Howard Ganz, an MLB lawyer, said in a letter to U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos that Rodriguezs claims do not come "remotely close" to what is needed to overturn an arbitration decision in federal court. Jalyn Holmes Stitched Jersey . Nine days before the opening ceremony, organizing committee chief Dmitry Chernyshenko said Wednesday that Sochi is "fully ready" and will deliver safe, friendly and well-run games that defy the grim reports that have overshadowed preparations. Black Vikings Jerseys . The 17-year-old native of Marystown, N.L., pulled out of Skate Canada International last month in Saint John, N.B., with the same problem. Tom May played for Toulon from 2009 to 2011 -- here he gives the rundown on what is in store for Chris Ashton at the three-time European champions.?So what waits for Chris Ashton at Toulon? There will be early difficulties but plenty of thrills.He divides opinion. Some say he should have stayed at Saracens and some see exactly why hes moving on to Toulon. Im in the latter party.The spotlight is very different from the one he experiences now. For different reasons, it was the same with Jonny Wilkinson when he left Newcastle. Its a relentless glare and sometimes it can be hard to live under.Whatever the reason, he cant get away from it and its tiring for players. He will be largely left alone in France. He will merge into the melting pot of galacticos that Toulon have and be able to get on with life -- probably what he needs after the last couple of years. He will be able to breathe again and just be.It will be a difficult move for him. Taking a young family to France will be tough. Simple things we take for granted when moving house takes forever to get sorted -- internet, phone lines, TV etc. -- and it can be excruciatingly frustrating to get your life in order.My advice is just go with it even if it does bring you to tears at first. It takes ages to get most things done in France -- even drinking an espresso -- and no matter how hard you try, you wont change it. If you buy into the way of life though, hell love it as much as I did. But fight it and hell be on the plane home from Nice sooner rather than later.Learning any language is hard and getting started sooner rather than later is advisable for Chris. Mike Ford and Paul Stridgeon will offer familiar faces and mean the Wigan accent isnt lost on the other players at the club and it will be some comfort to a new arrival. It will almost be a home away from home.He will need to make an effort, that will be expected. The French dont take it lightly should you not make an effort to speak their language and rightly so. Its embarrassing whhen an Englishman expects everyone else to communicate in their tongue.dddddddddddd Have a crack, everyone makes some howling errors which get some weird looks but thats what its about.Match day will be a completely different experience for him. Saracens are doing a good job at generating a growing crowd but Allianz Park is nothing compared to the sensational Stade Mayol.The stadium is packed to the rafters with Toulonnais fans, tossing the local newspaper in the air week in week out. Its something he will love as a player, perhaps similar to the experience he would have had in the Super League. No doubt Ashton will be loved by the fans there but more importantly for me, he will love them and what they give to the whole experience.Another piece of advice is: dont forget the handshakes. Every day, on arrival at work, the players go round and shake everyones hand. Its a superb way to show respect to those you see each day. You dont forget anyone, thats rude. Should you start speaking to them without having shaken hands and said hello, well look out! Even worse dont forget that you have already shaken someones hand. Youve had a shocker if you do. I only did it once and I didnt do it again as it got a brutal response. It really didnt go down very well.Overall, its a great move, I dont blame him. Clearly the money will have something to do with it and who would turn down the offer like that if it came along. If a big contract offer arrives at the age of 30 youve got to think about taking the opportunity, it might not come round again. The same happened to me. Perhaps not as many sacks of cash -- no perhaps about it! - but its something you cant turn down.When you combine all of that with the truly memorable three years ahead of him, then he will be a happy man. He better make sure he doesnt forget his Factor 50 though, that pale skin in the Mediterranean sun.... 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