After every conference home game, Sooners Illustrated is going to take a look at the five things that were revealed in Oklahoma's basketball game. Up now is OU's 88-76 Bedlam victory against Oklahoma State.
No. 1: The bench was huge
If OU is going to get 30 points from its bench, it's going to be a good night for the Sooners. The talk will be about Tyler Neal and his 15 points, but the contribution of D.J. Bennett cannot be overlooked. He has to make the most of his short stints, and he did against the Cowboys. It wasn't just the numbers but the way he altered and contested shots. Bennett closed with four points, four rebounds, two blocks and two altered shots in helping the Sooners keep the lead in the first half with Ryan Spangler in foul trouble.
No. 2: The crowd was electric
No doubt about that. That was the best crowd for an OU basketball game since Lon Kruger has taken over. They brought the energy early, often and never let up. Neal said after the game the guys were overwhelmed with the support, and he wanted to personally thank each and every one of the fans who showed up to make the night so special. Most likely won't see that type of crowd again this season, but for one Monday, Lloyd Noble was a tough place to play for the opposition.
No. 3: Woodard steps up
OU led 46-38 at half, but there was reason for concern since Marcus Smart and Le'Bryan Nash satout so much of the first half with foul trouble. But Jordan Woodard made sure OU's lead never vanished. He scored 17 of his 18 points in the second half and drained three 3-pointers. Add that to a great outing at Texas Tech, and the mini-slump for Woodard might be over. He said he has just been encouraged by the coaches and teammates to not give up on his shot and to continue being who he is.
No. 4: OU's aggression carries the day
Woodard nearly attempted as many free throws (13) as OSU made (15). There might have been some ticky-tack fouls called, but OU's aggression gave it the benefit of the doubt with the officials. The Sooners shot a whopping 42 free throws, compared to just 22 for Oklahoma State. OU held a 30-15 free-throw conversion advantage, too. Some of those numbers get out of whack because of late-game fouling, but OSU committed 11 more fouls than the Sooners and had three players foul out. P>
No. 5: OU has arrived
National spotlight on ESPN against the in-state rival and OU absolutely brought its best game of the season at this point. Sooners have piled up one big win after another but this one might mean more to the casual observer than some of the others. But we all know the grind never stops, and Iowa State is certainly going to be looking for some revenge Saturday afternoon in Ames at Hilton Coliseum.