OU advances past Butler

Sooners dominate inside to reach Battle 4 Atlantis Championship

Oklahoma looked nothing like itself in the second round of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament against Butler on Thursday.

That’s not a bad thing.

Known as an up-tempo, 3-point shooting team, the Sooners went inside, played strong defense and dominated a dog fight against Butler, advancing to the championship game with an 59-46 victory.

"Our guys' awareness defensively was as good as it's been all year," Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said to reports after the game. "We really had five guys working together, which is what you're supposed to do on the defensive end."

Oklahoma (4-1) held Butler scoreless for 7:35 in the first half and for 8:30 in the second half. Butler didn’t hit a field goal during that same stretch for eight and a half minutes in the first half and almost nine and a half minutes in the second half.

During those stretches, Oklahoma went on a 22-6 run to earn a 16-point lead in the first half and then stretched its advantage to 19 points with an 11-0 spurt in the second half.

Isaiah Cousins scored a team-high 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds. TaShawn Thomas had 10 points and six rebounds. The Sooners, who will play in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament championship game on Friday at 3:30 p.m., hit their first 11 shots from inside the 3-point arc while missing their first 11 3-pointers, less than 24 hours after attempting a school record 38.

Butler (4-1) dominated the glass against North Carolina in the first round but were outrebounded, 42-30, against Oklahoma, which beat an undefeated team for the second time in as many days.

Oklahoma will play No. 2 Wisconsin in the championship game.

"That's what we came here for. That was our goal," Cousins said. "We're striving for greatness."

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