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Defensive spurt sparks Sooners to third victory

Unlike their football brethren, the men’s Oklahoma basketball team mustered some second-half defensive tenacity to put away Wofford on Sunday and claim its third win of the season.

The Sooners won their home opener for the eighth straight season under head coach Lon Kruger, breaking a 53-53 tie midway through the second half and going on to defeat Wofford 75-64 on Sunday.

Sophomore Brady Manek led the Sooners with 18 points along with 11 rebounds and recorded his third consecutive double-double in points and rebounds. The 6-foot, 9-inch forward is averaging 13.6 points and 11 rebounds in Oklahoma’s three consecutive wins to tip off the 2018-19 season. Manek averaged 10.2 points and 5.2 boards per game his freshman season, playing in the shadow of fellow freshman and consensus All-American Trae Young.

Oklahoma Sooners

75

Wofford Terriers

64

Oklahoma trailed by one point at halftime, 38-37 and didn’t really take control of the contest until just under the 10-minute mark in the second half. The Sooners outscored Wofford 23-11 in the final 10 minutes to pull away and aided their cause by doubling down defensively, holding the Terriers to 31 percent shooting in the second half.

The Sooners are headed south this week to Paradise Island in the Bahamas, where they will compete along with eight other teams in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament. OU finished second in the same tournament four years ago, defeating UCLA and Butler before losing to Wisconsin in the championship game.

Key takeaways from Sunday’s win over Wofford:

  • Christian James scored in double figures for the third straight game with 15 points. He is averaging 22.7 points in the first three games and is shooting close to 60 percent from the field. In addition, the senior guard is shooting 90.5 percent from the free-throw line.
  • The Sooners committed just seven turnovers in the game after averaging 14.5 in their first two games of the season.
  • The OU reserves outscored their Wofford counterparts 37-19.
  • The Sooners two graduate transfers, Aaron Calixte and Miles Reynolds, both started the game and contributed a combined 19 points (seven by Calixte and a dozen by Reynolds).
  • Head coach Lon Kruger used 13 players in the game.
  • This was win number 624 in Kruger’s college coaching career and number 145 at Oklahoma.

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