Capel's Sooners Win Season Opener

OU head coach Jeff Capel

NORMAN, Okla. — The Sooners got the ball rolling the right way for the 2010-11 season, defeating the Coppin State Eagles 77-57 Friday night in front of 4,594 at Lloyd Noble Center.

"First of all, it feels good to win," said OU head coach Jeff Capel. "I liked the way we won tonight. I thought we were very together throughout the whole game. Even guys that didn't play that will play for us were very into the game the whole time, cheering on their teammates. I thought we did some really good things."

OU trailed just twice in the first half, and besides that, really took command of this one from the beginning.

And it was in large part because of a solid performance from sophomore forward Andrew Fitzgerald.

The 6-foot-8, 226 lb., post from Baltimore, Md., dominated in the second half, scoring 15 of his 22 points in the final 20 minutes, and most of those were in the paint.

"It improved a lot, you know," Fitzgerald said of his post play in the offseason. "It came from the summer time me dropping a lot of weight, you know, getting stronger, just posting up strong in the paint really."

After Coppin State had 5-3 and 9-8 advantages early in the game, OU made a run to extend an 11-point lead with a minute remaining in the first half.

The Sooners would take a 36-27 advantage into intermission.

CSU tried to cut into that lead and was successful to start the second half, as it closed the gap to six, but that's when OU came alive.

A jumper by guard Cameron Clark, followed by a three-pointer for forward Nick Thompson, extended that lead back out to 11 quickly, and the Eagles never got back within striking distance.

OU led by as much as 21 in the second half after guard Calvin Newell busted a trey from the left side with just more than a minute remaining.

The Sooners outshot the Eagles 51 percent to 34.5 percent, as well as at the free throw line where they converted 18-of-24 for 75 percent compared to CSU's 10-of-14 for 71.4 percent.

"I thought we shot the ball with a good percentage," Capel said. "I thought we really attacked their zone inside-out."

They also had two more three pointers, hitting nine to the Eagles' seven, making 42.9 percent to only 30.4 percent for CSU.

OU dominated assists 17-9, and edged out the rebounding battle down the stretch, winning it 36-33.

The Sooners will next play host to North Carolina at 7 p.m. Monday.

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