Davis' Hot Shooting From Deep Leads OU to 3-0

NORMAN, Okla. — OU took control of its third game of the season early in the first half and dictated the tempo from that point on en route to an 82-52 blowout victory over the Texas Southern Tigers, boosting its record now to 3-0.

"I am pleased with the win," said OU head coach Jeff Capel. "Every game looks a lot better when you make shots."

After trailing just once, 6-5 at the 14:40 mark in the first, the Sooners surged on a 17-8 run that had them leading 22-14.

They led by as much as 11 in the first 20 minutes when guard Steven Pledger hit a three with just more than five minutes to go before intermission.

When guard Cameron Clark hit a trey from the outside with just 10 seconds remaining in the first half, OU led by 10, and it looked like it would carry a double-digit margin into the break, but the Tigers responded with a buzzer beater of their own to end the period down 36-29.

"I thought we had an opportunity there in the first half to really expand the lead," Capel said. "I was very disappointed in our discipline on defense. I didn't think we showed the kind of discipline that we need in order to be a good basketball team."

But after TSU scored the first basket of the second half, that changed.

The Sooners dominated the remainder of the game on both ends of the floor.

A 20-2 spurt over the next eight minutes, back by stingy defense, allowed OU to bolster a 23-point advantage.

"I thought we got a little bit better with that in the second half," Capel said. "You know, we were able to put together a lot of stops as we continued to score, and that's how we were able to expand the lead."

That's a large part of why the Tigers got closer than 20 just one time from that point on, as the Sooners closed the contest on an 18-7 run to win by 30.

"I think that just coming back, we know we played good defense, really not early, but, you know, as the game went on, especially in the second half late," said guard Cade Davis, who finished with 21 points on 7-for-12 shooting. "You know, we started getting stops, and I thought that kind of wore them down. It kind of got them discouraged, and, you know, it kind of carried their play over to the defensive end. And we just were able to run, you know, whatever we wanted to and get open looks."

On this night, it was a pair of brilliant shooting performances from Davis and fellow guard Steven Pledger, who combined to go 10-of-20 from behind the arc, that highlighted the contest along with the solid second half defense.

Pledger hit four of his 10 attempts from deep to have a game-high 23 points, while Davis was even more efficient, making six out of his 10 shots from beyond the arc to notch 21.

"You know, ultimately we started getting stops, which led to the offensive end," Davis said of their scoring outbursts. "So, we've got to credit making shots to playing good defense."

For Davis, this good offensive performance is a welcome change after he made only three of his 14 shots in the first two games, including 2-for-9 from long range.

"I was aware [of the struggles] but, I mean, I tried to block it out of my mind," Davis said. " I mean, I'd like to think I can shoot the ball well, so, I mean, I just come out and keep shooting, keep working on my shot in practice, have confidence, step up."

Forward Kevin Galloway led the way with 19 for the visiting Tigers.

The Sooners shot a scorching 58 percent from the field, including 13-of-24 from three-point range, to only 33 percent for TSU.

Each team made 13 free throws, but OU was more efficient at the charity stripe, as it hit all but three of its attempts, while TSU was 13-for-20.

OU now hits the road for the Maui Invitational in Lahaina, Hawaii, where it will face the Kentucky Wildcats at 4:30 p.m. CT on Monday, Nov. 22.

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