The Oklahoma basketball team stepped up their level of competition for Sunday's final exhibition tune-up, and got all they could handle.
The Sooners, who had no problem pasting NAIA foe Oklahoma Christian in their exhibition opener last Tuesday, needed a second half surge to push past Central Missouri, a Division II school, 74-69.
Oklahoma trailed 26-22 at the half, but picked up the pace in the final 20 minutes with a halfcourt trapping defense that flustered the Mules and led to a 52-point second half outburst.
Senior forward Nate Carter came off the bench and led the Sooners with a double-double — 18 points and 10 rebounds. Junior center Longar Longar also recorded a double-double of his own with 10 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
The Sooners led by as many as eight points in the second half, but were forced to make free throws down the stretch, and they did just that. In all, OU finished 29-for-32 (91 percent) from the line.
The game-clinching free throws came from Austin Johnson, who calmly sank a pair to push the lead from 72-69 to 74-69 with 3.5 seconds left in a half-lit arena after a brief power outage.
Joining Longar and Carter in double figures were Johnson (13) and freshman Tony Crocker (14), who drew his first start as a Sooner.
Oklahoma outrebounded Central Missouri 48-38 and blocked an impressive eight shots, but turned the ball over 20 times.
The Sooners will officially open the season next Friday at 7 p.m. against Norfolk State.
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Sooners hang on for second exhibition win
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