HIELD HELPS SOONERS AVOID UPSET
Sophomore guard Buddy Hield said the Sooners got their “mojo” back after a sluggish first half Monday night in Oklahoma's exhibition basketball finale against Oklahoma Christian at McCasland Field House.
Hield certainly did.
The Sooners, with the help of a big stretch from Hield in the first 10 minutes of the second, came back from a halftime deficit to beat the Eagles 88-76 in front of 2,703.
“We can't wait until the second half to jump on teams,” Hield said.
Hield scored 12 of his game-high 29 points during a seven-minute stretch in the second where the Sooners outscored OC 27-9 to take control.
Hield was 10 of 13 from the floor and 5 of 7 from behind the 3-point line.
Oklahoma trailed 41-38 at the break after Willie Harper drained a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer.
“If we're going to have the type of season we want to have, we have to win the loose balls, we have to win the 50-50 balls, (and) be long on the intangibles,” Sooners coach Lon Kruger said. “I thought Oklahoma Christian did a much better job of that in the first half.”
The Sooners hit their first seven shots after halftime to take over.
Harper had 24, hitting four 3-pointers, to lead Oklahoma Christian.
WOODARD MAKING MOST OF CHANCE
Freshman guard Jordan Woodard started for the second consecutive game and was solid again.
He was 5 for 9 from the floor, hitting three 3-pointers to finish with 17 points.
Woodard also had six assists with just one turnover.
The Sooners had 20 assists, with 15 coming from Woodard, Hield (five) and Je'lon Hornbeak (four).
COUSINS CLOSE, BENNETT PROGRESSING
Sophomore guard Isaiah Cousins missed the game with an ankle injury that he suffered late in the first half of Saturday's exhibition win.
Kruger said Cousins went through the walk-through earlier in the day and wanted to play against Oklahoma Christian. But the ankle was a little tender.
Kruger held out Cousins for precautionary reasons.
Sophomore forward D.J. Bennett played 20 minutes, 13 in the second half, as he continues to come back from a foot injury.
Freshman guard Frank Booker watched from the bench in street clothes, serving a one-game suspension for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
Booker is expected to be back in action for Friday's opener.
Booker is the second player to be suspended for a game already, as sophomore guard Hornbeak missed Saturday's exhibition opener for the same reason.
Hornbeak was back in the lineup Monday, starting in place of Cousins.
TALLEY ‘BLESSED' TO PLAY SOONERS
In 2009, Kendre Talley led Star Spencer to a Class 4A state title at Lloyd Noble Center.
Saturday's game wasn't at OU's regular home court, but the Oklahoma Christian senior still enjoyed the return to Norman.
Talley scored 16 points on 5 of 14 shooting and had six assists for the Eagles.
“It was a great opportunity for my family to be able to come out and witness this environment,” Talley said. “We always used to go to OU games when I was growing up. Being able to play against them, it's a blessing. I never thought I'd be able to play against a Division I school.”
FIELDHOUSE SERIES CONTINUES
The game was the continuation of the Field House Series, which began last year with games returning to where the Sooners basketball team called home from 1928 through 1975.
The Sooners won an exhibition game and a regular-season game in the McCasland Field House last season.
Monday's exhibition is the only Sooners game scheduled for the building this season.
BY RYAN ABER