Oklahoma basketball: Four takeaways as OU men get set to begin Big 12 play


Junior transfer Jalon Moore led the way with a season-high 21 points as the Oklahoma basketball men wrapped up the nonconference schedule and the 2023 portion of the schedule with a 72-56 home win over Monmouth.

A holiday crowd of 6,700 was on hand at Lloyd Noble Center on the final day of 2023 to see OU improve to 12-1 as the Sooners get ready to head into January and begin play in their final season in the Big 12 Conference.

The Sooners had some difficulty shaking off the pesky Monmouth team out of New Jersey and the Coastal Athletic Association. After a back-and-forth first half, Oklahoma pulled ahead 32-28 at the half.

After shooting just 38 percent in the opening 20 minutes, the Sooners found their rhythm in the second half, opening up a nine-point advantage in the early going. The Hawks responded with a 12-2 run over the next five minutes and took a one-point lead, 42-41, with 13:08 to go.

The OU offense heated up from there, taking control of the game with a 22-4 run over the next eight minutes. The game was never really in doubt after that despite 13 different lead changes. Monmouth was held scoreless over the final five minutes of the game.

Moore, a transfer from Georgia Tech, hit eight of 10 shots, including three of four from long range in leading the Sooners to the victory.

Otega Oweh contributed 13 points. Javian McCollum 11 and Milos Uzan 10 as the 12th-ranked Sooners completed nonconference play with 12 wins, their most heading into conference play since the 2015-16 campaign, which ended with Oklahoma advancing to the Final Four.

Oklahoma now turns its attention to the Big 12, where the level of competition ramps up considerably. The Sooners tip off the conference season on Saturday when they will host Iowa State (11-2). That will be followed by a game at TCU next Wednesday.

Four takeaways as OU prepares for the increasingly tougher Big 12

  • Oklahoma is heading to the SEC next season, the conference universally believed to be the best in college football. The reverse is true in basketball as the Sooners will be departing the Big 12, the league considered the most dominant in college hoops.
  • Three of the Sooners' top three scorers this season are newcomers who joined the team as transfers: Javian McCollum from Sienna (14.7 points per game), Jalon Moore from Georgia Tech (9.7) and Pittsburgh transfer John Hugely IV (9.5).
  • Oklahoma enters its final Big 12 season ranked 11th in the Associated Press Top 25, the third highest-ranked of six Big 12 teams. Kansas is No. 2, Houston No. 3, newcomer BYU No. 12, Baylor 18 and Texas 20. The Sooners rank 5th in the Big 12 in scoring (82.5), 4th in scoring defense (63.2, 5th in field goal percentage (50.1), 4th in opponent field-goal percentage (38.6), 8th in three-point percentage (35.5), 4th in rebounding margin (+8.8) and 10th in turnover margin (+1.08).
  • The Sooners' January opponents (Iowa State, @TCU, @Kansas, West Virginia, @Cincinnati, Texas, Texas Tech and @Kansas State) have a combined record of 79-22 through the nonconference portion of the schedule.