OU wins final tune-up

Oklahoma tops Northwestern State in last game before Battle 4 Atlantis

Oklahoma had more to prove to itself than anyone else Sunday.

Just a few days after an upset loss to Creighton, the No. 18 Sooners needed to re-assure themselves that they are the quality of team that can compete this upcoming week at the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament in the Bahamas.

It wasn’t always pretty – 20 turnovers comes to mind immediately.

Oklahoma started slow, but thanks to a strong run to end the first half, it turned a 20-point lead at the break into a 90-68 victory against Northwestern State.

Still, there was way too much left to be desired from a team loaded with talent playing an under-whelming mid-major.

Guard Buddy Hield was cold, starting the game 1-for-7. Point guard Jordan Woodard turned the ball over six times, after a four-turnover performance one game earlier. It was the second-highest two-game total for Woodard in his career.

There was plenty of good, also.

Isaiah Cousins was hot from the floor early and finished with a team-high 20 points to lead five Sooners in double figures.

“This group is going to be a case where a lot of different guys can score,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “Different guys are going to lead in scoring different nights. . . . A lot of different guys made good plays.”

Oklahoma (2-1), which went on a 20-6 run to end the first half and turned the ball over only once in the final six minutes of the first 20 minutes, still had too many up-and-down moments with a first-round tournament matchup against UCLA on Wednesday.

The Sooners forced 17 turnovers but allowed 17 offensive rebounds that was averaging just 12 per game.

“It was definitely more of an open-court, transition-based game,” Kruger said. “It’s like we said, we haven’t really had an opponent like that. It was good to see that. We have to continue to work and execute and make plays better.” Hield finished with 16 points on 16 shots and Woodard fell just short of a double-double with 13 points and nine assists.

Ryan Spangler had 13 points and nine rebounds, and Dinjiyl Walker, who was a perfect 3-for-3 from behind the arc, scored 13 off the bench for Oklahoma.

“Just the flow of the offense and attacking, making shots off what mistakes their defense was making,” Cousins said. “My teammates passed the ball great (Sunday).”


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