Sooners hold off Cincinnati late for huge 69-65 road victory

Albert Cesare/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

Paced by 30 combined points from its two scoring leaders, Oklahoma took over the game five minutes into the second half and held off Cincinnati late to post big road win with a 69-65 victory over the Bearcats on Saturday.

Javian McCollum scored 16 points and Otega Oweh 14, with 10 coming in the second half, to lead 15th-ranked Oklahoma to the win. The Sooners improved to 15-3 on the season and are now 3-2 in the Big 12.

Cincinnati took a quick 4-0 lead after the opening tip and lead for practically the entire first half. The game was tied at 31 after the first 20 minutes in a poor shooting first half. Both teams shot under 40 percent from the field in the first half. The Sooners shot better in the second half, improving to 41 percent for the game but still nine points under their season average. Cincinnati (13-5, 2-3) was held to 37 percent for the game, and that proved to be the difference with both teams putting up about the same number of shots.

The Sooners came into the game knowing they had to rebound well and keep the bigger, more physical Cincinnati players off the offensive glass and also limit turnovers that can lead to breakaway transition baskets in order to come away with a win against a very good Bearcat team playing at home.

After committing 16 turnovers in a win at home earlier in the week over West Virginia, OU gave the ball away just 10 times against Cincinnati and just three times in the second half. The Sooners also won the rebounding battle with 42 total rebounds and 13 offensive boards. The Bearcats pulled down 36 total rebounds.

Oklahoma also got a big boost from its bench. The Sooner reserves contributed 28 points.

Jalon Moore had 10 rebounds for Oklahoma to go along with nine points. John Hugely IV scored 11 for the Sooners coming off the bench.

Cincinnati's Simas Lukosius led all scorers with 17 points, including four three-pointers. John Newman III added 14 for the Bearcats.

The Sooners are back home for two games next week: Texas on Tuesday and Texas Tech comes to Norman on Saturday.