The 5-1 Sooners looked to continue their strong start to the 2018-19 season, coming off a 3rd place finish in the Battle 4 Atlantis as they welcomed the 8-0 North Texas Mean Green to the Lloyd Noble Center. However, it wasn’t as easy as a nice Bahamian breeze.
Both teams started out slow. Oklahoma jumped out to a 6-0 lead and held the Mean Green scoreless for nearly 4 minutes. Lethargic play on both ends, benefited the bigger and stronger Sooners. OU played very sound defense, racking up 8 turnovers and keeping hands in the Mean Green’s shooters. UNT came into the game shooting 42.6% from behind the arc but were held to just 23.1% against the Sooners.
The biggest performances of the night came from veteran forward Jamuni McNeace and guard Myles Reynolds. McNeacewas a wrecking ball in the paint, going to the line 7 times and recording his third career double-double with 16 points and 10rebounds.
Reynolds had a much larger role against UNT as Christian James picked up 3 fouls in the first half. Coach Lon Kruger trotted Reynolds out to start the second half as he sparked the play of the Sooners on both sides of the court. Reynolds gives off an energy and provides a huge spark off the bench. He finished with 17 points and 2 steals but his play cannot be judged simply off of a box score.
The Sooners biggest struggle was at the free throw line. Oklahoma shot 17-33 from the charity stripe. A margin that made the game closer than it should have been for the majority of the night. “[We] struggled at the free throw line all night long. We have to improve on that for sure.” Coach Kruger said following the game.
Oklahoma gave North Texas their first loss of the season as they fall to 8-1 overall. The Mean Green look forward to their next matchup against Indiana State on December 5th. As for the Sooners, they improve to 5-1 overall and will face Notre Dame on December 4th as part of the Jimmy V Classic, in New York City.