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Oklahoma Basketball: Sooners crush Vanderbilt, 86-55, in Big 12/SEC Challenge

The Oklahoma Sooners dominated the Vanderbilt Commodores en route to a 86-55 victory as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge. With the win, Lon Kruger’s squad improved to 15-5 on the season and 6-1 in Norman.

The fans in the building were not only treated to a lights-out performance from the basketball team, but the Sooners’ football team was also in the house to be honored for winning the 2018 Big 12 Championship. Grad transfer QB Jalen Hurts took part in the festivities in his first public appearance with his new team.

Lincoln Riley, going into his third season as Oklahoma’s head coach, spent a moment to chat with the broadcast crew about Hurts and what he brings to the team.

After coming off a season-low five points in Stillwater, Christian James led the way with 21 points on 8-15 shooting from the field. The senior set the tone from the jump in this one, and his team followed his pace throughout the contest.

In the first half, James was the early igniter on offense, knocking down his first two three-point attempts just minutes into the game. Later, it was Rashard Odomes’ turn to assert his will on the Commodores’ defense by driving to the paint and attacking the rim. A 19-0 run was capped off by back-to-back threes from Brady Manek. Oklahoma eventually led by as many as 21 before halftime and took a 41-23 lead into the break.

In the second half, it was more of the same from the first 20 minutes of the ball game. The trio of James, Manek and Odomes scored 15 of the first 17 points to effectively send Oklahoma into cruise control. The bench crew then came in to seal the deal, as Miles Reynolds, Aaron Calixte and company finished the day with a combined 31 points.

Seeing guys likes Hannes Pöllä and Patrick Geha play during some real court action is always exciting for the guys who are in the regular rotation. This was an awesome sequence down the stretch.

Up next, Oklahoma has a quick turnaround as Big 12 play resumes on Monday, Jan. 28. Baylor (13-6, 4-2) comes to town after knocking off Alabama in its Big 12/SEC Challenge tilt. Last season, the Sooners split the two meetings with the Bears, with each team winning on its home court. BU is currently on a serious hot streak, winning its last four games, including a monster upset over a top 10 Texas Tech squad. Once again, this conference contest should prove to be formidable test for Lon Kruger’s group.

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