NORMAN, Okla. — The Sooners certainly looked like they hadn’t played in a week, a little bit sluggish, but in the end they won out in the Woodard affair, sealing up a 101-91 victory over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.
OU’s Jordan Woodard won the battle of the Woodards, leading the way with a game-high and career-high 24 points—17 of those came from the free throw line—and dishing out eight assists as well.
"It was real fun going against Tulsa," Jordan said. "They got a real good ball club, and I feel like I had good success getting to the paint and getting to the free throw line. So, I just wanted to keep attacking...He [James] was out there talking mess. He was just mad because they lost, but it was real competitive out there. Like I said, they got a great ball club and it was a hard-fought game."
Tulsa’s James Woodard put on a nice show also, scoring a team-high 19.
"It was a great experience," James said. "Not too many people can do that, play against their brother, but I was just treating it like another game and trying to get a win because I feel like we're a very good team."
After OU squandered most of a 12-point lead in the first half, guard Buddy Hield helped OU pull away some in the second half.
He scored 10 quick points in the second half, including a pair of 3’s, while Jordan kept his free throw barrage coming.
"It was big for us, you know," Hield said. Coach said we got to step up, and my teammates just found me in the right spots and I got to the offensive glass and I got deflections and I got a couple lay-ins."
But Tulsa simply wouldn’t ever go away.
After trailing by as much as 18 points in the second half, they closed to within six in the final minute and got into the fouling game.
However, OU iced it up down the stretch with ample free throw shooting. Woodard’s 17-of-22 throughout the contest was a large part of that.
"Pretty much I saw how they were defending me," Jordan said. "They didn't stop me too far in the front court so I got a chance to get deep into the paint and I found [Ryan]Spangler a couple times down low when they came up to defend me. I found Buddy one time down low. So, I just figured if I could get into the paint, I could find shooters or hit the bigs down low or get to the free throw line."
Guards Pat Swilling and Shaquille Harrison added 17, while forward D’Andre Wright had 10 for the Golden Hurricane.
"Obviously a very tough game," said OU head coach Lon Kruger. "I thought Tulsa battled, as our guys did throughout. I thought our guys opened the second half [really strong]."
Despite playing so sluggishly in the first half, they led the whole way and had a 40-38 advantage at intermission.
That ballooned to as much as 18 late in the second half before it dwindled away back to single digits.
The Sooners and Golden Hurricane each shot 48 percent, while the visitors actually won the points in the paint battle 34-32.
That was in large part due to Spangler’s absence, as he played only 12 minutes, all of those in the first half, because of an apparent calf injury.
"The thought is he got kicked right on the calf," Kruger said. "Don't know exactly the extent of it at this point at all. It tightened up, though, and those calf muscles can be pretty tender and it just wasn't--maybe could have gone, but certainly long run there's not [any reason to] risk [that]."
OU won the rebounding battle 43-32.
The Sooners get back to action at 7 p.m. CT Tuesday when they host UT-Arlington.
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