Oklahoma beat Wichita State 80-48 at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Saturday to take a 6-2 series lead. The matchup was a tale of two halves as the Shockers only trailed by eight at halftime. Both teams started out slow with 22 combined turnovers in the first half. Shooting on both sides was subpar for much of the first half with Oklahoma eventually getting good looks at the rim in transition and from beyond the arc.
Christian James dominated the first half with his second career double-double. Even without Jamuni McNeace for the second straight game, James cleaned the defensive glass with ease. James finished the first half with 11 total rebounds (10 defensive) and 12 points. As a result, Coach Kruger let James rest once the game was in hand. James finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
The second half, OU came out for blood. Oklahoma turned up the intensity defensively with help from a 20-4 run halfway through the second half. “A lot of that was keyed by defensively getting deflections and steals…A lot was initiated on the defensive end.” Coach Kruger said after the game.
The Sooners are getting a lot of contributions from guys all over the court. Hannes Pölla, Aaron Calixte, Rashard Odomes, Jamal Bieniemy and Matt Freeman all played key roles in the Sooners second half domination of Wichita State. 28 of the Sooners 80 points came off the bench, a trend that will have to continue as OU heads closer to conference play.
With the win, Oklahoma improves to 8-1 on the year. Their next game will be playing host to the USC Trojans at the BOK Center in Tulsa on Saturday, December 15 (8PM) . As for the Wichita State Shockers, they fall to 4-4 on the season. WSU will welcome Jacksonville State on December 12.