In a game everyone knew would more than likely be a blowout, two Oklahoma City products in Jordan Woodard for Oklahoma and Chauncey Collins for TCU went head to head. In this surprisingly high anticipated game, due to Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant in the stands, it was all Sooners tonight beating the Horned Frogs 95-72 and Buddy Hield didn’t have the spectacular game we are all used to.
Don’t get me wrong… Buddy still had a good game, scoring 17 points, but he wasn’t the determining factor in this win. Spectacular free throw shooting, and unselfishness won this game for Oklahoma.
When I say unselfishness, I mean players passing the ball to the open man, ignoring the fact they MAY be able to make the shot presented. Six Sooner players scored in double-figures tonight but no one scored more than 20 points. That’s balanced scoring at it’s finest. Not to mention, they won the assist battle 20-11. Free throw shooting was well above average also, shooting 18-of-22 from there, 81.8 percent led by Jordan Woodard who shot a perfect 9-of-9 from the free throw line, which in a way made up for a sub-par 3-point shooting night from the leagues leading 3-point shooter (1-of-6).
Isaiah Cousins did a great job tonight where he was practically all over the floor, scoring 13 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists….almost a triple-double. He did a great job and has done a great job manipulating smaller guards and overpowering them in the paint both offensively and defensively. He’s also done a great job getting used to the new point guard role he has taken on and has gotten his teammates involved. Even young freshman Christian James who scored a college-high 12 points all off 3-pointers where he shot 4-of-5 (80 percent) from there. Haven’t seen much of this kid so far this year, but if he can consistently score like this, watch out for him in the next three seasons and the same goes for sophomore big man Khadeem Lattin and junior center Akolda Manyang who combined for 18 points off 8-of-11 shooting.
Defensively Oklahoma did a great job of keeping Collins out of the game early. He only played three minutes in the first half due to foul trouble and was pulled out of the second half early as well due to another foul. When this sophomore is in the game though , he clearly can score. When he was in the game, early in the second half he drained 3 three’s and also dished out 3 of the teams 11 assists in what couldn’t have been more than 15 minutes of play.
If it’s possible, this Oklahoma team got a little bit better tonight by the way of getting young players experience which sets up a full arsenal for the NCAA Tournament. Oklahoma’s next game with be at Kansas State. OU improves to (19-2) on the season and (7-2) in the Big 12, with the toughest part of the schedule behind them.
Photo: Mark D. Smith/ USA Today Sports