Three takeaways from an OU victory that builds confidence
Oklahoma’s biggest win of the yet precocious basketball season came on Saturday, sending the signal that this new Sooner team will be one to be reckoned with when the Big 12 begins in a few weeks.
The Sooners never trailed in a dominant 88-66 victory over 12th and previously undefeated Arkansas.
Unlike the two games they lost this season, the Sooners didn’t let a second-half lead slip away. When Arkansas closed within three points of Oklahoma with just under 10 minutes left in the second half, the Sooners exploded to a 31-12 streak to end the game.
It was OU’s second victory in 10 days over a top 25-ranked team and improved the Sooners’ record to 8-2 with two more non-conference games to play in December before opening the Big 12 season on the New Years Day at home against Kansas State.
Here are three big takeaways from Oklahoma’s victory over Arkansas:
The earlier ones dominate the first minutes of both halves
Oklahoma opened the game with 13 unanswered points, which they then opened to a 15-point advantage in the first half. Arkansas closed the first half on a 13-4 streak to close at three points at 39-33 in intermission. The Sooners opened the second half in an 11-2 run to reduce the advantage to 15 points.
Three points are always better than two
In the first nine games of this season, Oklahoma had shot just 32.4 percent from three points (79 of 244). On Saturday, however, the Sooners were on fire from the depths, draining 13 of 22 three bullets. The Sooners shot 59.1% and scored 39 of their 88 points behind the three-point line, nearly doubling their season average. OU’s previous single-game highs were 11 three-pointers and 43% three-pointers.
Create an attack from a strong defense
The Sooners won this game as much thanks to their defense as to an excellent offensive performance. Yes, Oklahoma shot 55% as a team and all five starters scored in double digits, but on the defensive end, the Sooners limited the Razorbacks’ top two scorers each to six points below their season average.