NORMAN- A pair of highly touted newcomers lived up to their billing in Oklahoma’s season opener against UTSA.
In the absence of veteran Kristian Doolittle, freshman De’Vion Harmon and transfer Austin Reaves filled the void, powering the Sooners past the Roadrunners 85-67.
“I thought our guys came out in the second half and played with a lot more freedom, a lot more aggressiveness,” coach Lon Kruger said after the game.
“A good battle.”
Harmon and Reaves both led the Sooners in scoring, contributing 23 points apiece.
Kruger’s squad took a while to warm up, only shooting 36.7% from the field in the first half and making just 2-of-13 shots from behind the arc.
Alondes Williams provided a spark from the bench in the first half for Oklahoma, piling in seven quick points at the midpoint of the half to push the Sooners in front.
“Alondes is a really talented guy,” Kruger said.
Kruger said he believes more is to come out of Williams as he settles in with the Sooners.
“He’s trying to be careful right now, and I think when he loosens up a little bit, we’re going to get really good results out of Alondes.”
The Roadrunners hung tough with the Sooners, keeping the game tied at 36 headed into the half. Out of the break however, Reaves took the game over.
Finishing both at the rim and from behind the arc, Reaves scored 11 points in the opening seven minutes of the second half, busting the game open for the Sooners.
“Austin went nuts in the second half,” Harmon said. “That was crazy.”
Reaves credits his teammates’ rebounding as what got him and the team kickstarted in the second half.
“I thought we rebounded the ball well at the guard spot to start the second half and that just really transitioned to good shots and they started falling,” he said.
In his first regular season game in over a year, Reaves would go on to score 17 in the second half, adding six rebounds and three assists to his name for the evening.
“It feels good,” he said. “Sitting out a year wasn’t fun but it was needed. It was fun.”
Harmon also added 12 points in the second half, finishing the evening shooting an efficient 8-for-13 from the field and 3-for-6 on three pointers.
Though Harmon totaled no assists for the game, he did a good job of running the offense for the Sooners, and also pulled in three rebounds.
“I thought [UTSA was] going to guard me a little bit more,” Harmon said after the game.
He said due to UTSA dropping off of him defensively led to him spreading the ball around less than he had anticipated coming into the game.
“I’m going to take what the defense is giving me,” Harmon said.
Brady Manek scored 16 points for Oklahoma, getting the job done around the basket and from the free-throw line.
“I spent a lot of time this summer just getting stronger and trying to develop down low,” Manek said.
“The guards helped me out tonight and I think we just got a really good win as a team,” he said.
Oklahoma will hit the road to meet up with the Minnesota Golden Gophers in Sioux Falls, S.D. in their next outing. The game will tip-off next Saturday at 7 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.