Oklahoma Basketball: Sooner Starters Standout in OU’s Seventh Win

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It appears the Oklahoma basketball squad suffered no ill effects from the long plane trip back from Hawaii, where the No. 7-ranked Sooners crushed No. 9 Villanova on Monday.

On Saturday afternoon at Lloyd Noble Center, Oklahoma broke open a five-point game at halftime, heating up in the second half to pull away from visiting Oral Roberts by a commanding 23-point victory margin.

Buddy Hield had his second 30-point game of the season, just a point shy of his career high, and Jordan Woodard, the Sooners’ junior point guard, put in 19 points as four OU starters scored in double digits for the second straight game in the 96-73 victory.

Dec 12, 2015; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners guard Isaiah Cousins (11) passes the ball behind Oral Roberts Golden Eagles center Albert Owens (44) during the first half at Lloyd Noble Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a big win over a top-10 team and a long way from home had some wondering if Oklahoma would have a letdown on Saturday. Even head coach Lon Kruger wondered how his team might respond:

“We came back on Tuesday and practiced Wednesday, Thursday, Friday” Kruger said in his postgame comments after Saturday’s win. “With the leadership of this group, that shouldn’t be a concern.

“These guys know what human nature is about and how you have to bounce back and play the next game and you have to get better every day. The strength of these guys, the leadership corps, has been through a lot of battles, and they know how it works. We don’t have to provide them with much. The next game is the only one that counts.”

The Sooners shot a blazing-hot 62 percent from the field in the second half, scoring 53 points to go along with a tightened-down defense that all added up to a seventh consecutive win to begin the 2015-16 season.

If you missed the game, you can watch some of the game highlights by clicking here.

Some more meaningful takeaways from the game:

  • Defense has been a key element in Oklahoma’s wide victory margin in six of its seven wins this season. Oral Roberts shot over 50 percent in the opening half on Saturday, but than number came down precipitously in the second 20 minutes as the Sooners held the Golden Eagles to 35-percent shooting.
  • Oklahoma outscored Oral Roberts 12 to 4 in fast-break points.
  • Since beating Memphis by six points to open the season, Oklahoma has won by 17 or more points in six straight games.
  • For the second straight game Dinjiyl Walker had a big game coming off the bench. Walker scored 11 against Villanova earlier in the week in a reserve role, and he came back with eight points on Saturday.
  • Buddy Hield, who had been going through a mild shooting slump the past few games, was back in top form on Saturday, hitting 9 of 15 shots from the field and 4 of 7 from three-point range. He also was perfect in eight trips to the free-throw line.
  • Oklahoma entered the game shooting 46 percent in three-point field goals, best in the nation. They didn’t do anything to hurt that standing on Saturday, connecting on 16 of 27 treys for 59 percent.
  • Jordan Woodard made 4 of 6 three-point shots in Saturday’s win, giving him a total of 17 for the seasons. That is as many made three-pointers as the junior point guard had all of last season.