Sooners Smother ORU After Early Struggles

NORMAN, Okla. — On a Saturday afternoon overshadowed by rumors of head coach Bob Stoops possibly going to Florida, the men's basketball team made some news of its own, coming back from an early double digit deficit to defeat the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles 73-60 in front of 4,736 at Lloyd Noble Center.

"I am really pleased with this win," said OU head coach Jeff Capel. "We beat a good team."

The Golden Eagles snuck out to that early 13-point advantage thanks to hitting eight of their first 11 shots from the field.

"Oral Roberts was a hot team coming in, winning four out of five of their last games," Capel said. "They shot over 50 percent from the field [in all five games]."

At least at the beginning, it didn't look like that would change.

Meanwhile, OU came out cold, failing to score for the first 3:15.

The Sooners didn't have multiple field goals until the 12:52 mark when guard Cameron Clark busted a jumper to make it 17-6 at the time.

A couple minutes later, after ORU extended the lead back out to 12, OU came to life, using an 18-0 spurt to capture a six point lead of its own.

That was part of a 22-2 run the Sooners used to close the first half, while also tightening up their defense.

"They knocked us back very quickly, but I really like how our guys responded," Capel said. "We were able to hang around there early and our defense got it going for us. We were able to take them out of some things they like to do."

Because of that, they never trailed again after leading 34-26 at intermission.

The Golden Eagles cut the deficit to two with 13:37 remaining, but the Sooners once again responded with a 12-3 run to make it a comfortable 11-point margin.

ORU just couldn't ever seem to get in a rhythm offensively after the early surge, finishing only 36 percent from the field.

"It means the world to us," said guard Carl Blair of the defense's importance. "That's the biggest thing for us—play defense, and we just have to continue to score with that."

OU was boosted by a workmanlike performance by Clark, who had a career high 17 points on 8-for-11 shooting and three steals to go along with four rebounds, a block and an assist.

"Coach said I needed to be more aggressive and my teammates told me to be more aggressive on the defensive end," Clark said. "And that's what I've been doing."

Four other Sooners finished in double figures, as guards Steven Pledger, Blair and Cade Davis managed 19, 12 and 10, respectively, and forward Andrew Fitzgerald finished with 14.

ORU guard Warren Niles led all scorers with 22.

The Sooners next take the court against Cincinnati at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18 in Oklahoma City at the All-College Classic.

Other postgame coverage:

Report Card

Head coach Jeff Capel's Press Conference

Player Postgame Interviews

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