Oklahoma basketball: Sooners give Lon Kruger his 150th OU victory

Three Oklahoma basketball starters scored in double figures and the Sooner reserves contributed 32 points off the bench as OU recorded its 10th win of the season on Tuesday, an 83-70 home victory over Creighton.

Three Sooners achieved season highs in points and all nine OU players who saw action scored in the game. Brady Manek led OU with a season-high 18 points. Kristian Doolittle and Rashard Odomes contributed 13 points off the bench, both season highs. Manek also grabbed five rebounds, including three on the offensive end.

Christian James, the Sooners’ scoring leader on the season, had 14 points, the ninth time in 10 outings in which he has reached double figures in the scoring column, and his fourth consecutive double-double in points and rebounds.

The victory gives Sooner head coach Lon Kruger 150 wins in his seven-plus seasons at OU.

Creighton head coach Greg McDermott was impressed with Oklahoma’s performance against his Blue Jays, now 7-4 on the season. He had this to say after the game:

“We’ve played four teams we think are top 25-level teams,” the Creighton head coach said. “This team is certainly one of them.”

Here are the main takeaways from the win over Creighton, out of the Big East:

Strong defensive play continues to be a big factor in Sooners’ early success

Defense continues to be a big part of Oklahoma’s game this season. Creighton is the best three-point shooting teams in the nation this season, shooting 44.8 percent. Oklahoma held the Blue Jays to 7 of 30  from three-point range (23.3 percent).

Ty-Shon Alexander is Creighton’s leading scorer. He came into the game with the Sooners averaging 18.2 points per game. On Tuesday night at Lloyd Noble Center, Alexander played 30 minutes, going 3 for 10 from the field, all three makes from behind the three-point line, and ending the game with just nine points, the first time he has been held under double digits all season.

Texas Tech is believed to be one of the best defensive teams in the country this season. The Sooners rank just behind the Red Raiders in the Big 12, holding opponents to a field goal percentage of 37 percent.

Oklahoma’s roster depth helps them maintain defensive intensity throughout the game. Creighton head coach Greg McDermott acknowledged that is part of it.

“They’re tough defensively,” he said, “their length, their physicality.”

Balanced scoring and major bench contributions

It has been difficult this season for Oklahoma’s opponents to focus on any one player. The Sooners’ lineup runs 10 deep this season, and everyone seems to be getting into the act. Rashard Odomes and Kristian Doolittle both had a season-high 13 points coming off the bench, as the OU reserves contributed 32 points in the win over Creighton. That nearly doubled the bench production of the Blue Jays (17).

It was the first time Doolittle has reached double figures this season and just the second time for Odomes.

Overall, Oklahoma had five players reach double digits in the game.

Oklahoma is just outside of the top 25 in both major polls

The win over a good Creighton team should help Oklahoma’s chances of breaking into the top 25 next week. A win at Northwestern on Friday might just guarantee it.