Norman, OK—The Oklahoma Sooners faced their in-state rivals to open up Big 12 play at the Lloyd Noble Center. Both teams were coming off of losses against top Big 12 talent. From the opening tip, the game was physical. Foul trouble riddled the Cowboys early as arguably the best Poke, Lindy Waters had three fouls in just over six minutes of play. The Sooners capitalized at the free throw line, going 25-36 from the charity stripe despite shooting 21-58 from the floor.
Between both the Sooners and Cowboys there were 57 attempted free throws and 43 made shots. Oklahoma kept grinding throughout the game as Lon Kruger liked his squad’s physicality. “I thought we were aggressive… what he (Doolittle) has done the past few ball games is great.”
Kristian Doolittle has consistently improved as he has been starting in place of an injured Jamuni McNeace. Against the Cowboys, Doolittle put up 16 points and eight rebounds. He continued to fight in the post and took advantage of the Cowboys foul trouble, going to the line five times. Doolittle also led the Sooners in scoring.
Brady Manek had a quiet first half going 0-5 from the floor but still found himself shooting six free throws and making five. Coming out of the break, Manek fired 1-2 from three-point range and 3-6 from the rest of the field. “I’m
always trying to find ways to contribute,” he said after the game. Manek finished 15 points and five boards.
Christian James posted a double-double once again, continuing his streak of dominate two-way play. The senior guard had 14 points and 11 rebounds. His defensive play was on display as he also grabbed two steals.
Defense was key for the Sooners in this one, just as it will be all season. They flexed their defensive proneness against the Cowboys, holding them to 34% from the floor and 23% from deep. The Sooners also limited second chances by holding OSU to nine offensive rebounds. Transition opportunities for the Cowboys were far and few between as the Sooners were constantly disrupting the lanes in transition.
Oklahoma State falls to 6-8 overall and 0-2 in Big 12 play. As for the Sooners, they improve to 12-2 overall and 1-1 in Big 12 play. OU will play top 25 ranked Texas Tech in Lubbock on Tuesday, January 8. The game can be seen on ESPN News.