TULSA — Before Wednesday night, Oral Roberts University had won 24 straight basketball games in the Mabee Center.
Then Oklahoma arrived in an atmosphere of a constant-chanting Golden Eagles student section, a 15-piece pep band complete with a cowbell player and a fan base that kept the game loud down to the final second.
Despite half the fans wearing Oklahoma red, the Sooners fans were mostly quiet except for a few “Boomer Sooner” cheers.
Regardless, OU played through a 10-point deficit to win 63-62.
“We're very much aware of the success they've had,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said, “especially here in the building.”
AGGRESSIVE PLAY HELPS THE SOONERS
Oklahoma learned two things after the Old Spice Classic last week — how to play aggressively and how to not play too aggressively.
ORU outrebounded the Sooners 18-12 in the first half, but Oklahoma won the rebounding battle back in the second. The Sooners had 37 rebounds by game's end. Oklahoma junior Amath M'Baye finished with a game-high nine rebounds.
Also, the Sooners cut down their personal fouls from their last game against West Virginia, when they finished with 27 fouls. Oklahoma ended the night with 14 personal fouls, while ORU finished with 19.
GOLDEN EAGLES' DYNAMIC DUO
Steven Roundtree and senior Warren Niles created a lot of problems on Wednesday night for the Sooners.
Roundtree led ORU in rebounds with eight before fouling out with less than 20 seconds remaining.
Niles was a scoring threat, which the Sooners knew coming into the game.
At least four different Sooners — Buddy Hield, Sam Grooms, Je'lon Hornbeak and Isaiah Cousins — spent significant time covering Niles. ORU has won all three games this season in which Niles has scored 20 points or more. On Wednesday night, the Sooners held Niles to 19 points and five rebounds.