Sooners pass tough road test at Purdue

Oklahoma's Taj Gray blocks the shot of Purdue's Brandon McKnight during the second half of the Sooners' 66-48 win over the Boilermakers. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

It was a tale of two halfs for Oklahoma in their 66-48 win over Purdue Wednesday night.

The Sooners used the 3-pointer to build a 17-point lead in the first half and take an 11-point edge at halftime. But when they went cold in the second half they went inside to junior forward Kevin Bookout, and he delivered.

Oklahoma scored the first six points of the second half to extend their lead to 40-23 at the 16:03 mark, but then only scored two points over the next five minutes and 58 seconds. Purdue used the drought to climb back in to the game, cutting the lead to 42-38 with 10:08 to go.

"The first half we just shot the ball so well from the 3-point line," said OU Head Coach Kelvin Sampson. "In the second half I said we're not going to live and die by those things, we're going to pound the ball inside. Every time out we had the ball we ran something for Kevin."

Bookout, who was held scoreless in the first half, scored four straight points to jumpstart a 21-5 run that would help Oklahoma pull away for good after the Boilermakers cut the lead to four. Bookout finished with a team-high 12 points and six rebounds.

"Kevin is a winner. I thought he was big in the second half," said Sampson on Bookout, who played 37 minutes. "We didn't need to get it to him the first half. They were zoning us and playing different defenses and leaving us open. I knew that we were going to need him in the second half, and that's why we ran all of our sets through him."

Overall, aside from the second half drought it was a good shooting night for Oklahoma. The Sooners shot 54.9 percent from the field (28-51) and 43.8 percent from 3-point range (7-16), while holding the Boilermakers to 37 percent (17-46) shooting from the field.

Sophomore point guard Drew Lavender came off of his one-game suspension and was sensational. Lavender, who was 3-for-6 from 3-point range, finished with 11 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals.

Joining Lavender and Bookout in double figures were Terrell Everett with 11 and Jaison Williams and Taj Gray with 10. Lawrence McKenzie, who was also suspended for last Saturday's game, came off the bench to add eight points and three assists.

"I thought Drew was good," said Sampson. "I thought Terrell was good, and I thought Jaison Williams played like a senior. When you go on the road and shoot 55 perecent and hold them under 50 points, you are doing a lot of things right.

"I think the thing that pleased me most was we got up 16 and then they steadily cut it to four. We call a timetout, get it to Keivn to go up six and then our defense was really good. That's just a sign of your team growing up, when they get the lead down to four and we take it back to 10 or 12 up. Road victories are precious. This is a good start for us."

The Sooners (5-1) return to the Lloyd Noble Center on Saturday for a matchup with Northern Colorado. Tip-off is set for 12:30 p.m.

OU-Purdue Box Score

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