OU cruises to the elite 8

In a game everyone expected to be close and entertaining, the Sooners completely controlled from about halfway through the first period, till the end of the game as they defeat their former Big 12 Conference rivals, the Texas A&M Aggies 77-63. Buddy Hield had a pretty good game, but not in the way that people expected. It was his supporting cast that had the breakout game as far as scoring goes. Especially junior guard Jordan Woodard. 

Even though Buddy didn’t have his average scoring game, just scoring 17 points off 6-of-13 shooting, he possibly had an even more effective game tonight by adding 10 rebounds to his stat line, which marks his first double-double of the season. His hustle motivated his teammates to step up and they did just that, having spectacular games as well. One player that had a great game both defensively and offensively was Jordan Woodard, who led all scorers with 22 points and also adding 5 assists and 2 steals to that. Woodard did a spectacular job getting Khadeem Lattin, a player that isn’t offensive minded involved in this game. Lattin scored 10 points on the night, double his season average. Another player that got involved more offensively because of both Woodard and Hield getting them involved was Ryan Spangler who hasn’t been playing as well as head coach Lon Kruger expected him to play as of late. Spangler ended the night with 10 points as well, while also pulling down 8 rebounds and dishing out 4 assists. By surprise, the Sooners’ secret weapon for this team that came up in a very big way unexpectedly was freshman guard Christian James, who scored 12 points off 4-of-6 shooting from three. He’s had a few games this year where he’s broken out and played great, but some games he plays like your typical nervous freshman. The fact that he’s shown up in a game of this magnitude is a great sign for not only the remainder of this tournament, but for the future of this Sooner squad.

3 reasons OU prevailed.

  1. OU ended the first half on a 39-13 run. They started the game slow, and Texas A&M’s game plan worked…for about 12 minutes out of 40. Then Woodard caught fire in all aspects of the game.
  2. Jordan Woodard and Buddy Hield combined for 39 points off 7-of-13 shooting from three. They also combined for 13 rebounds and 8 assists as well.
  3. Defense. Oklahoma held Texas A&M to just 34 percent shooting overall and 21.4 percent shooting from three.

Defense is what will win this Sooner team a championship. There are many teams that excel offensively that can’t play defense and vise-versa. The next game on the road to the championship will be on Saturday against the winner of the Duke vs. Oregon game.

 

Photo: Ian Muale/ Tulsa World

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