Oklahoma basketball: Sooners lower the boomer on No. 2 Bama

Oklahoma basketball followed up their worst game of the season earlier in the week with by far their best performance on Saturday and a statement win over the No. 2 team in the country.

The Sooners (12-9, 2-6) trailed for just 25 seconds the entire game and shot 58 percent, including a 30-point performance from Grant Sherfield, in not just beating Alabama but burying them on the court at Lloyd Noble Center in a 93-69 beatdown.

The 24-point winning margin was the most by an unranked team over a top-five team in Associated Press poll history.

If you hadn’t witnessed it firsthand, you would never have anticipated this kind of a blowout of a team that had lost just twice all season but was being projected just this week as a No, 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Sherfield’s 30 points was a season high and just one-point shy of a career high. In his last two games (losses to Baylor and TCU), the Sooner shooting guard had scored five and eight points, respectively. On Saturday, he made good on 11 of 20 field goal attempts and four of five three-balls.

Sherfield wasn’t the only OU player who had an outstanding game. Jalen Hill scored a career-high 26 points on 9 of 11 shooting, including two of two from long range. Tanner Groves contributed 14 points and was a beast on the boards, grabbing 12 rebounds.

Oklahoma scored 50 points in the first half, its second-highest total in a half this season and took a 50-33 advantage into halftime. The Sooners shot a sizzling 68 percent in the opening 20 minutes and closed out the half making 13 of 14 shots.

Oklahoma won this game on the defensive end and creating offensive opportunities from a solid defensive effort. Alabama averages 83 points a game and wants to play fast and get out in transition. The Sooners took that away on Saturday, slowing down the tempo and holding the Crimson Tide to 37.5-percent shooting and just 6 of 22 from three-point range.

Bama’s top scorer, freshman Brandon Miller, was limited to just 11 points, nearly nine below his season average. Another Alabama freshman, Rylan Griffin led the Tide with 13 points off the bench.

Sooner head coach Porter Moser has challenged his team to do a better job in the rebounding area. OU ranks last in the Big 12 in both total rebounding and offensive rebounds, and they were going up against an Alabama team that is one of the best rebounding teams in the country. The Sooners won the rebounding battle on Saturday 36-33.