NORMAN, Okla. – It was billed as the Woodard Bowl and both Jordan Woodard for Oklahoma and James Woodard for Tulsa lived up to the hype.
In the first meeting between the brothers, it was Jordan getting the upper hand in the Sooners’ 101-91 victory against the Golden Hurricane on Saturday afternoon.
Jordan Woodard scored a career-high 24 points and had a career-high eight assists in helping OU move to 9-1 this season. The 24 points seem off when you consider he was a mere 3-of-4 from the field. But Woodard made a living at the free throw line, knocking down 17 of 22 attempts.
“Yeah, pretty much,” said Jordan Woodard on if he realized he could attack the Tulsa defense. “I saw that they weren’t stopping me too far into the frontcourt, and I was able to get about even with the paint. I just figured if I got into the paint, I would be able to find shooters, get it to the bigs down low or get to the free throw line.”
OU raced out to a 29-17 lead, but the Golden Hurricane narrowed the margin to 40-38 at halftime. OU suffered another blow when power forward Ryan Spangler missed the second half because of a bruised calf injury.
Missing a real presence in the paint, OU decided to go on the offense with a 61-point second half and made a living from the free throw line.
“I thought our guys opened the second half well,” coach Lon Kruger said. “It was a really good key in the game with Ryan going down. I thought other guys stepped in there and did a terrific job to open the game in the second half.”
A lot of that was forward Tyler Neal, who came off the bench to score all 12 of his points in the second half.
Sophomore guard Buddy Hield had 23 points, while Isaiah Cousins and Cameron Clark each had 15 points.
Spangler was kicked in the calf in the first half, and Kruger said he didn’t know the extent of the injury. The game marked OU’s first contest without Je’lon Hornbeak, who broke a bone in his foot earlier this week.
In the Woodard showdown, James scored 19 points and had six rebounds for Tulsa. Their sister, Jasmyne Walker, sang the national anthem before the game as well.
“When we were out there, he was talking mess,” Jordan Woodard said. “He was just mad because they lost, but we are really competitive out there. They have a really great ball club. I’m glad we got the win.”