Norman, Okla. —The fifth-ranked OU men put on an impressive show on the boards and on the defensive end to beat Belmont 81-59 in front of 6,000 fans Saturday night at the Lloyd Noble Center.
"This game is another step forward for us," said OU head coach Kelvin Sampson, whose Sooners improved to 3-0. "Belmont is a well-coached team and their kids really know their system. I am proud of my guys and how hard they played and competed tonight."
Senior forward Taj Gray led the way for the Sooners with 15 points and 14 rebounds, but none of those totals came easy as Belmont (2-1) was playing close attention to Gray.
Senior guard Terrell Everett showed why he is one of the best guards in the country leading the Sooners with 17 points, grabbing four rebounds and dishing out nine assists against four turnovers.
Sophomore David Godbold was solid with 12 points and two rebounds, and senior Kevin Bookout finished with 11-points and six rebounds.
OU dominated the boards 52-30 and held Belmont to just 6-for-16 from 3-point range. Belmont came into the game hitting 60 percent from behind the arc.
OU shot just 41.5 percent from the floor, but hit 23 of 30 free throws. The Sooners also finished with 20 offensive rebounds in the game.
"I really admire Oklahoma's team," said Belmont hed coach Rick Byrd. "We've played a lot of teams over the last seven to nine years in Division I and they don't always get ready for the games. They don't always play hard. Based on what I can see, the Oklahoma team this year, and in years past, they always play real hard.
"They obviously had a good strategy. They got up in us and took us out of our shooting game. hey got up on us on the perimeter and didn't let us get those shots. They had a good plan defensively."
Michael Neal came off the bench to hit three of his eight 3-point attempts and finished with 14 points. Nate Carter also came off the bench with seven points and four rebounds, while freshman Taylor Griffin finished withg three points and eight boards.
"We are going to beat a lot of teams this year because we have a lot of depth on the bench," said Sampson on the play of his bench, which contributed 26 points and 20 rebounds. "We are still making mistakes but it is only November. The NCAA Tournament isn't until March so we have a lot of time to figure things out."
The Sooners (3-0) will go on the road for the first time this season this Wednesday at Tulsa. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Sooners Sports Network in Oklahoma.
OU-Belmont Box Score
Sooners improve to 3-0 win win over Belmont
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