OU Basketball: Sooners Get Set for Home Opener with McNeese State


It is a busy sports weekend at the University of Oklahoma. The football Sooners are hosting Texas Christian in a Big 12 contest with conference and national title implications, and as a weekend opening act the men’s OU basketball team hosts McNeese State in the Sooners’ home opener of the 2015-16 season.

It was a little too close for comfort, but the Sooners pulled out an 84-78 win over Memphis earlier this week in their 2015-16 season opener. The two teams switched back and forth with the lead several times over the last three minutes in the game before OU pulled ahead for good on an alley-oop dunk by Ryan Spangler with 83 seconds left.

The Sooners play their next four games at home, starting with McNeese State on Friday evening. The Cowboys, 0-2 to start this season and picked by the Southland Conference coaches to finish 10th in that 13-member league, should not pose much of a problem for the eighth-ranked Sooners. McNeese State did play LSU, ranked 19th this week in the Amway/USA Today Coaches’ Poll, relatively close in one of those two losses, falling by 11-points, 81-70 at LSU.

Nov 17, 2015; Memphis, TN, USA; Oklahoma Sooners guard Buddy Hield (24) brings the ball up court during the first half against the Memphis Tigers at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma and McNeese State, located in Lake Charles, La., have met twice before in basketball, both times when Billy Tubbs was the coach of the Sooners and both times resulting in Oklahoma wins. The two teams, however, have not played since 1987.

McNeese State will be the first of consecutive games for the Sooners against teams from the Southland Conference. On Tuesday, OU will host the University of Incarnate Word, out of San Antonio.

Oklahoma has won 22 straight home openers and 35 of the last 36. The last team to beat the Sooners in the opening home game of the season was Massachusetts, 84-83, in Billy Tubbs’ final season as head coach in 1993-94.

Buddy Hield, who scored a game-high 30 points in OU’s season-opening victory over Memphis is 13th on the all-time Sooner scoring list with 1,396 points. Two other Oklahoma starters are closing in on 1,000 career points. Isaiah Cousins needs 129 more points to reach that milestone, and Ryan Spangler is 334 points away. Forty-one former Sooners are members of the 1,000-points club.