NORMAN, Okla. – This was the Oklahoma basketball team the Sooners fans were accustomed to seeing in the first couple of months of the season.
Playing with energy. Sharing the ball. Making timely shots. It was all clicking for OU as the Sooners cruised to an 86-73 victory against Kansas State on Saturday afternoon at Lloyd Noble Center.
Following a week off, it was back to work for OU as the team looked as fresh as a team can at this point of the season. With the win, the Sooners improved to 20-7 overall and 9-5 in Big 12 conference play. The 20 wins is the same amount OU had last season.
OU coach Lon Kruger said the week off did wonders for his club, and the team had one of its best practices weeks of the season.
The matchup was the high-powered OU offense against KSU’s stingy defense, but the Sooners turned the tables on the Wildcats in the first half in building a 41-22 halftime lead.
OU had 10 assists, five steals and created 10 turnovers and used a 21-2 run during the latter half of the first half to put the game away early. KSU only shot 39 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes.
That wasn’t shocking to senior forward Cameron Clark, who said the team was eager to get out there and play aggressive defense against the Wildcats because they knew that’s what it would take to get the victory.
As has been the case for most of the season, it was a balanced effort that led the Sooners. Sophomore guard Buddy Hield had a team-high 18 points, while Isaiah Cousins pitched in with 17 points.
Cousins said it was big for his confidence, shooting 6 of 11 from the floor following a rough outing last week at Oklahoma State where he didn’t make a shot. It was a wakeup call, he said, but his teammates and coaches kept encouraging him to play his game.
OU led by as many as 27 at 68-41 before the Wildcats made a late run to make the score respectable, but the outcome was never in doubt after halftime.
Clark had 11 points and eight rebounds, while freshman guard Jordan Woodard bounced back with a 10-point, five-assist outing. The Sooners played a relatively clean game with 18 assists against just eight turnovers.
One half of the Sunflower state is knocked off, but a much bigger challenge awaits the Sooners as OU heads to Kansas on Monday night. KU won at OU earlier this season.