Oklahoma basketball: Sooner offense crisp, confident in 3rd straight win

Note to Sooner fans: This Oklahoma basketball team is good and a good shot better (no pun intended) than some wanted us to believe.

The Sooners picked up their third victory in the first week of the new season, defeating Oregon State 77-69 in the PK Invitational on Tuesday night in Portland, Oregon. and looked impressive doing it.

It was OU’s second straight win on a neutral floor, having posted a nine-point win over Minnesota out of the Big Ten on Saturday in a game played in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Both teams entered the game with 2-0 records. The Beavers played another Big 12 team on Saturday, beating Iowa State 80-74 at home.

Three Oklahoma players reached double figures in scoring in the win over Oregon State, led by 19 points from Kristian Doolittle. The senior forward also pulled down a career-high 16 rebounds and was delivered four assists. It was Doolittle’s best game of the new season. He sat out the season-opening win over the University of Texas-San Antonio with a one-game suspension.

Junior Austin Reeves added 17 points and sophomore Jamal Bieniemy contributed 13 as OU won for the sixth consecutive time against a team from the Pac-12 .

There were 11 lead changes in the opening half Tuesday night. Doolittle drained a two-point shot at the top of the key as the clock expired in the first half, giving Oklahoma a one-point, 33-32 lead after the first 20 minutes.

The game was tied several times in the early going of the second half before the Sooners slowly pulled away. With just over seven minutes to go in the game, Oklahoma had opened up a 20-point advantage.

The Beavers never gave up, fighting back to within six points with 36 seconds remaining, but the deficit was just too great to overcome.

Observations about Sooner basketball one week into the 2019-20 season

  • Within a three-day span, Oklahoma beat two teams away from home, albeit on a neutral floor, that had a combined record of 40-27 last season. It wasn’t just winning, but the way they won both games that was most impressive.
  • The Sooners started slow in the  wins over Minnesota on Saturday and again against Oregon State, but turned it up in the second 20 minutes in both contests to pull away.
  • Austin Reeves, the Wichita State transfer, found his range against Oregon State. After starting the season 2 for 12 from three-point range, the junior guard from the range five times in nine tries against Oregon State. He was known as a three-point marksmen his sophomore season at Wichita State, shooting 45 percent from long range.
  • The OU bench players have contributed 19 and 18 points, respectively, in the last two games.
  • Oklahoma committed fewer than 10 turnovers against both Minnesota and Oregon State after committing 15 in the season-opening win over UTSA at home.
  • Three games into the 2019-20 season, Reeves leads the Sooners in scoring with a 17.0 average. Four other OU players are averaging in double figures: Kristian Doolittle (14.5 in two games), Brady Manek (14.3), freshman De’Vion Harmon (10.3) and Jamal Bieniemy (10.0).
  • With wins expected in OU’s next two games — William and Mary and Maryland Eastern Shore as part of the College Basketball Hall of Fame Classic, both at home — the Sooners should be 5-0 to start the season.
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