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Sooners Pull Away In Second Half Against Cougars - Advance To Semifinals

At the very worst Oklahoma can finish 4th in the 2011 76 Classic. That may sound like a bit of a pessimistic statement but even fourth place in Anaheim would be light years ahead of losing to Chaminade which is what happened in Hawaii around this time last year. The Sooners advance to the semifinals of the Classic was aided by 18 points from Calvin Newell and a second half defensive performance that limited Washington State to just 22% shooting from the floor.

Oklahoma trailed 40-38 at the half thanks to a buzzer beater half-court shot by WSU. At the time it appeared that everything was going wrong for the Sooners who had at one point trailed by 8 points and seemed to battle back to take a one point lead before the miracle shot. 

OU was matched stride for stride in the first half by a WSU team that appeared at times to be more physical than the Sooners. However, in the second half the depth of Oklahoma's bench took over and the Sooners pulled away for the 74-59 win. 

The Sooners were beaten on the boards (35-32) and in free throw shooting (72% to 61%) but won this game on defense by forcing 22 turnovers. While getting out rebounded is a bit disappointing and shooting poorly from the charity stripe is frustrating you really can't complain about a 15-point win. In addition to Newell's 18 points, Steven Pledger (14) and Cameron Clark (11) were the other players to score in double figures. 

Oklahoma plays Santa Clara tonight at 11:00 (CST) in the semifinals.