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  • December 18, 2017 11:31 PM GMT

    NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger doesnt expect his Sooners to reach last years Final Four-level status immediately with so many new faces.Thats why hes fine with the baby steps they took on Tuesday. Freshman Kristian Doolittle scored 17 points to help Oklahoma defeat Northern Colorado 87-66.The young Sooners have three new starters, and four freshmen played at least 10 minutes against the Bears.Theres not an unrealistic expectation from my perspective, Kruger said. Weve got a lot of work to do. We need a lot of reps. These games are all great for us. Every time these guys get on the floor and get a little more comfortable and identify their role in a game situation, its huge for us.Doolittle did his damage on 7-for-8 shooting and added five rebounds in just 18 minutes off the bench. He scored 11 points in the second half to help the Sooners pull away.Jordan Woodard had 14 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. He didnt know he was so close to a triple-double.I just got some rebounds, he said. I was just trying to be aggressive. Coach wanted everybody to stay in attack mode.Christian James added 14 points and seven rebounds for the Sooners (5-1), who shot 54 percent from the field.Jordan Davis had 15 points and seven assists, DJ Miles scored 11 points and Chaz Glotta added 10 points for Northern Colorado (2-5).Oklahoma led 40-34 at halftime behind seven points, six rebounds and four assists from Woodard. Northern Colorado scored the first five points of the second half to cut Oklahomas lead to 40-39, but the Sooners finally got things going. A technical foul against Northern Colorado coach Jeff Linder helped spark the Sooners to a 10-point lead with about nine minutes to play. Woodard sent the fans to the exits when he made a circus layup and was fouled to put the Sooners up 79-61 with about three minutes to go.The Sooners outrebounded Northern Colorado 26-16 in the second half, and the Bears committed 15 turnovers overall.With their length and athleticism, they can make a few more mistakes than we can and kind of make up for it, Linder said.BIG PICTURENorthern Colorado: The Bears were battle tested with losses to traditionally strong programs Butler, Santa Clara, Arizona and Bucknell. They hung tough with the Sooners until the final minutes, and may be a handful for teams in the Big Sky Conference.These guys, for being such a young team, and a new coaching staff, they have not shown one ounce of fear, Linder said.Oklahoma: The Sooners struggled against a non-power five conference opponent for the second straight game -- they defeated Abilene Christian 72-64 last Friday.STAT LINESOklahoma center Khadeem Lattin had five blocks and three steals to go with 10 points. He spearheaded a defense that allowed just 36.6 percent shooting.He affected a lot of things on the defensive end, Kruger said.NEW STARTERMatt Freeman, a freshman from New Zealand, got his first start in Doolittles place. He didnt score and took just two shots in 13 minutes.Doolittle said not starting for the first time this season affected him.To say the least, but I didnt take it personally, he said. I have all the faith in the world in Matt to go out there and do a great job.UP NEXTNorthern Colorado hosts Northern New Mexico on Saturday.Oklahoma travels to No. 17 Wisconsin on Saturday. The Sooners will have their best chance to shake off their sluggish play and show they havent fallen off too much since Buddy Hield left for the NBA.Good challenge there, Kruger said. Kohl Center is a tough place to play. A top-ranked team -- we respect that. Weve got to go in there and value the ball and compete like crazy on the boards and defensively.---Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP . 49ers Stitched Jerseys . At a Manhattan federal court hearing, attorney Jordan Siev said his law office has gotten more evidence nearly every day to support its lawsuit accusing MLB and Selig of going on a "witch hunt" to ruin Rodriguezs reputation and career. He said the defendants went "way over the line. 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CHICAGO -- Detroit Tigers right-hander Jordan Zimmermann has been activated from the disabled list and is scheduled to start Saturday against the Baltimore Orioles.Zimmermann left Washington as a free agent and signed a $110 million, five-year deal with the Tigers during the offseason. He was 5-0 with a 0.55 ERA after five April starts but has struggled since and gone on the DL twice because of neck pain.Zimmermann gave up two home runs in a rehab start for Triple-A Toledo on Monday, throwing 80 pitches.Im pain free, Zimmermann said Tuesday. I feel great, and the ball is coming out good. I have pretty good command of the off-speed pitches, so its way, way better than when I was rehabbing the first time and tried coming back. I feel as strong or if not stronger than I did in April. Im excited to get back out there.He said he threw his fastball from 90 to 93 mph, attributing a drop in velocity to the neck strain earlier this year.Zimmermann, 9-5 with a 4.44 ERA in 16 starts, allowed six runs and six hits while gettting five outs in his last start with Detroit on Aug.dddddddddddd 4. He also had a poor June before being sidelined the first time.As long as Im feeling good and I can locate, I can pitch at 90 to 91, no problem, Zimmermann said. When I was rehabbing the first time, I was 90 to 91 and couldnt locate. Thats a recipe for disaster. If I can locate, I have enough off-speed pitches to get these guys off balance, and I should be fine.Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said right-hander Michael Fulmer will start against Baltimore on Friday and ace Justin Verlander?will go against the Orioles on Sunday at Comerica Park.Detroit had won 11 of 14 entering Tuesday, moving into a tie with the Orioles for the second American League wild card.Were playing good ball right now, Zimmermann said. If I can get back in there and help them win some ballgames down the stretch here, thats really what I want to do. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '