NORMAN – Getting his hand on an arrant pass, Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield was alone heading toward the basket. He had just enough time to turn around to see no one behind him as he went up for a two-handed dunk in the final minutes Saturday.
The next possession, Hield knocked down two of his perfect 8-for-8 from the line. Two trips later, Hield hit a step-back 3-pointer from the right wing.
All three looked just as easy as the next – and every other shot Oklahoma took in a 96-73 victory against Oral Roberts. That’s what the Sooners’ offense as become: Brutally efficient.
“The guys are moving the ball well, making the extra pass and making shots,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “It’s a good combination.”
At times, it’s that simple too.
Oklahoma remained one of ten unbeaten teams still left in Division-I and remains confident in a defense that came into Saturday ranked first in the country in opponent field goal percentage, opponent 3-point percentage and defensive rebounds.
It was the offense, however, that with Jordan Woodard playing arguably the best basketball of his career at the wing made things easy against Oral Roberts (8-3) – and likely will against many other opponents.
Hield had game-high 30 points to go with a career-best five steals, and Woodard posted 19 points.
Woodard now has 53 points in the last three games while shooting 58 percent from the field during the stretch. That’s Woodard’s highest three-point output of his career and only the fourth time in three years that he’s scored in double figures in three straight games.
“We just have a lot of good team chemistry,” Woodard said. “I feel like we’re starting to feel each other out there on the court – all of us, Ryan, Buddy and Isaiah. The new guys, too. We’re playing well together.”
No. 7 Oklahoma (7-0) is off to its best start since 2007, when the Sooners won 12 straight games to open the year. One reason is the offense, which shot 80 percent from behind the 3-point arc in the second half against Oral Roberts and had four players in double figures.
After Oral Roberts tied the game with four minutes to go in the first half, Oklahoma produced an 8-0 run then scored 10 unanswered points in less than 90 seconds – four-straight possessions and baskets from four different players.
“This team isn’t going to give up,” said Oklahoma forward Ryan Spangler, who had 13 points and eight rebounds. “We had the lead, but we, obviously, weren’t happy with our defense. We had to step that up in the second half and we did.”
It’ll do so as a team still considered one of the best in the country.
“There’s not a whole lot you can do,” Oral Roberts coach Scott Sutton said. “I think Oklahoma has a chance to have a special, special team. They have a chance to go a long, long way in the NCAA Tournament. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if this team made a Final Four and had a chance to win it all. I think they’re that good.”