In a showdown that the Sooners should have been out-muscled in, the tenacious and hard-working Oklahoma basketball team would not back down.
In front of a sell-out crowd of 12,715, the 21st ranked Oklahoma Sooners knocked off the 2nd ranked Maryland Terrapins 72-56 for their ninth win of the season. The victory was the result of hustle, heart, and an abundance of emotion.
"Not every team is as strong as Maryland," head coach Kelvin Sampson explained. "That's about as good as it gets."
The Sooners were relentless on the offensive and defensive boards. Maryland is a very strong and powerful team, and should have been capable of bullying the Sooner squad. Instead, Oklahoma out-rebounded the Terps 44-36 while forcing Maryland into a season-high 21 turnovers to help secure the victory.
The Sooners held a 36-34 halftime lead before going on a 10-0 run late in the second half to seal the victory. After the run, Maryland would get no closer than 12 points.
"I'm proud of our team," Sampson said. "I told our kids we'll come out here and beat them on the boards."
The Oklahoma players must have been listening. The leader of this hard-working squad was senior forward Aaron McGhee. McGhee was a constant presence inside and was relentlessly fighting for the loose ball or battling for the offensive board. McGhee finished the game with 16 points (12 in the second half) and 11 rebounds. Unfortunately, McGhee's intangible effort goes unnoticed in the box score.
Ebi Ere also had a great night finishing with a team-high 19 points on a 6-16 shooting effort from the field. Ere also added seven rebounds and two assists.
"Not every team is as strong as Maryland," coach Sampson explained. "That's about as good as it gets."
Another enormous highlight for the Sooners had to be the play of sophomore Jabahri Brown. In just his fourth game as a Sooner, Brown had team-high 14 rebounds to go along with his eight points.
But his line is only half of the story. During approximately a five-minute span in the first half, Brown put on a dunking spectacle. First it was the one handed alley-oop. Then it was the aggressive two-handed put-back that ignited the Lloyd Noble Center Crowd. Brown, who was continually altering shots inside, will be a major player for the Sooners for years to come.
Maryland All-ACC point guard Juan Dixon was limited to 11 points and three rebounds. Chris Wilcox led all Terrapin scorers with 15.
Mouton 4-11 0-0 8, Baxter 3-5 3-5 9, Dixon 5-12 1-1 11, Blake 2-11 0-0 6, Holden 1-4 0-0 2, Nicholas 1-6 2-2 5, Wilcox 6-8 3-4 15. Totals 22-57 9-12 56.
McGhee 5-15 6-9 16, Brown 4-5 0-0 8, Ere 6-16 4-4 19, White 2-4 3-7 7, Price 3-10 0-0 6, Detrick 3-10 0-0 6, Selvy 4-6 1-2 10, Szendrei 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 27-67 14-22 72.
Halftime-Oklahoma 36, Maryland 34. 3-point goals-Maryland 3-19 (Blake 2-8, Nicholas 1-4, Dixon 0-4, Mouton 0-2, Holden 0-1). Oklahoma 4-19 (Ere 3-7, Selvy 1-1, McGhee 0-1, White 0-1, Detrick 0-3, Price 0-6). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Maryland 36 (Baxter 10), Oklahoma 44 (Brown 14). Assists-Maryland 14 (Blake 6), Oklahoma 15 (White 6). Total fouls-Maryland 17, Oklahoma 14. A-12,715.
McGhee, Sooners out-muscle Terps in 72-56 upset
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