Oklahoma Basketball: Sooners Off to 5-0 Start, with No. 8 Villanova Next


It’s as if the Oklahoma basketball squad is immersing itself in the same magic potion as its football brethren. After winning a close road battle at Memphis to open the season, the Sooner men are off to a 5-0 start to the 2015 season, and they are winning big just like the football Sooners in 2015.

OU’s latest basketball victory was a 43-point blowout over Central Arkansas at Lloyd Noble Center on Thursday night. But the competition is about to get much tougher as Oklahoma heads to Honolulu, Hawaii, to take on Villanova, ranked No. 8 this week in the AP Top 25. The Sooners and Wildcats will play on Monday in the Pearl Harbor Game.

Buddy Hield, the Big 12 preseason choice as Player of the Year for a second consecutive year, got his usual double-digit points, putting in 19 for the game, but for a second-straight game another Sooner stepped up with an even bigger game.

Junior point guard Jordan Woodard was on fire from the field. He drained six three-point shots, all within a three-and-a-half-minute stretch in the second half, on his way to a 24-point performance, a career high. Woodard hit three of his six treys in one span of less than a minute. He also added four rebounds, two assists and a game-high four steals to his night’s work

Dec 3, 2015; Norman, OK, USA; Central Arkansas Bears forward Albert Christensson (4) drives to the basket against Oklahoma Sooners center Akolda Manyang (30) during the first half at Lloyd Noble Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

In Oklahoma’s previous victory, a 17-point win over Wisconsin, Ryan Spangler was the Sooners’ scoring leader with 21 points, one below his career high. This is the kind of teamwork and selfless play that head coach Lon Kruger delights in seeing from his players and particularly from the starting five.

Isaiah Cousins also was in double figures, one of seven Sooners to score in double digits in the game, with 16 points. Cousins also had 11 rebounds for a double-double.

A few more things you might like to know from this game:

  • The 111 points Oklahoma scored against Central Arkansas is the most by a Sooner men’s team since 1995-96, when OU scored 119 against Colorado.
  • All five Sooner starters scored in double digits in the game: Woodard (24), Hield (19), Cousins (16), Khadeem Lattin (12) and Spangler (11).
  • Oklahoma came into the game with Central Arkansas at No. 4 nationally, averaging 47.5 rebounds per game. The Sooners had a 59-24 advantage on the boards against Central Arkansas.
  • Jordan Woodard made 8 of 10 shots from the field and 6 of 7 from behind the three-point line.
  • The Sooners scored 54 points in the first half, their most in the opening 20 minutes in two seasons. They bettered that in the second half, tallying 57 points.
  • The last time Oklahoma started the season with a 5-0 record was in 2008-09, Blake Griffin’s final season at OU. In 2008-09, the Sooners ran off 12 consecutive wins to begin the season before losing.
  • The Sooners have plenty of offensive weapons on this year’s team, but what has gone mostly unnoticed in their five wins to begin the 2014-15 season is stellar defensive play. Oklahoma ranks first nationally in field-goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 31-percent shooting from the field. Central Arkansas shot 38 percent against the Sooner D.