Oklahoma Basketball Shows Sooners Are Title Contenders in Two Sports


Oklahoma basketball isn’t about to play second fiddle to the Sooners football Final Four entry.

The seventh-ranked Sooner men’s basketball team put the rest of the college basketball world on notice Monday that they are legitimate title contenders in hoops this season as well.

Oklahoma buried No. 9 Villanova 78-55 in the Pearl Harbor Invitational in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Monday behind a barrage of three-point bombs. The Sooners rained threes on the frustrated Villanova defenders, connecting on 14 of 26 three-point tries, including a red-hot 8 of 12 in the second half.

For the third consecutive game, a Sooner teammate other than Buddy Hield led the team in scoring. On Monday, its was Isaiah Cousins’ turn to lead the scoring parade, finishing with a game-high 19 points.

Dec 7, 2015; Honolulu, HI, USA; Oklahoma Sooners guard Buddy Hield (24) shoots against the Villanova Wildcats during the second half of the NCAA basketball game at Bloch Arena. Oklahoma defeated Villanova 78-55. Mandatory Credit: Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports

In Oklahoma’s previous two games, Ryan Spangler and Jordan Woodard have led the team scoring. That is the kind of offensive distribution and scoring balance that will serve the Sooners well as the season grinds on.

The Sooners also got excellent production from their bench against Villanova, with Dinjiyl Walker contributing 11 of the 18 points that came from the OU non-starters.

Other notable story lines from the game:

  • Oklahoma came into the game with Villanova leading the nation in field-goal percentage defense at 31.4 percent. The Sooners turned up the defensive heat once again Monday night, limiting a good shooting Villanova team to just 31.7 percent shooting from the floor.
  • Dinjiyl Walker’s 11 points included 3 of 5 from three-point range.
  • Villanova shot 32 times from behind the three-point line, making just four for a shooting percentage of .125.
  • The Sooners outrebounded Villanova 41-33, with Ryan Spangler grabbing 10 boards. OU entered the game as the nation’s 14th-best rebounding team in rebounding margin (+12.2).
  • With four three-pointers in the game, Buddy Hield passed former Sooner Tim Heskett (1997-01) to move into the fourth spot on the all-time Sooner leader board with 219 for his career. Hollis Price (2000-03) is next on the list with 241 made treys in his career. Terry Evans (1989-93) is the career leader at Oklahoma in made three-pointers with 259 followed by Stephen Pledger (2010-13) at 249.
  • Ryan Spangler posted his fourth double-double of the season (in six games) with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
  • Oklahoma improved to 6-0 on the season, their best mark since the 2008-09 season, when the Sooners jumped out to a 12-0 start.
  • The Sooners’ 78 points is the most scored by a Villanova opponent in eight games this season.