The Oklahoma Sooners squeaked out yet another win. This time it was against the Northwestern St. Demons who certainly haunted OU all evening.
Jalen West led all scorers with 13 on 3-of-5 from deep as both teams shot a dismal percentage from the field in the first half. Combined, the teams made 22-of-59 shots. From there, it would be on Oklahoma to control the paint while limiting the likes of DeQuan Hicks and James Hulbin. However, to mix things up a bit, Northwestern would sub out their entire starting five in one fail swoop within the first five minutes. Just seven minutes later, the Demons would use the same tactic to keep the Sooners on their hills as they took a 32-29 lead into the half.
Over the past few games, Oklahoma has gotten off to a slow start and tonight was no different. Many reasons this squad has looked sluggish as of late is partly due to the fact that they have played five games over the past eight days. The wear and tear has had it's affect on this team while they will have a short period to rest before taking to the road once again.
"We played like it for sure but I don't know if it was because of fatigue. But whenever we don't play well we always have to acknowledge that Northwestern State did some nice things. They have some big athletes and they did a good job and they were physical. Not to take anything away from them, but we have to play better. We have a day off tomorrow, will get away from it a little bit and then get back in preparation for Arkansas on Tuesday." - lon Kruger*
Leading the way for Oklahoma was Romero Osby with 11 points and 8 rebounds. Behind him, the Sooners had four others scoring 8 or more. The player of the game, however, was a new face in Isaiah Cousins as he became a stat stuffer with 9 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals.
In the final minutes, it would be the Northwestern St. defense giving Oklahoma fits as Osby fouled out.
"Again, a game where it was a lot uphill all night long in terms of trying to get a handle on it and get ahold of it. We never really did obviously, being down there late. We had some good defensive stops right there and a couple buckets in transition which really helped us out. To get Je'lon's shot in transition, to put [Steven] Pledger at the line -- a lot of big plays there late to help us sneak out with a win." - Lon Kruger*
At times, OU struggled to inbound the ball. But, the game was over when the Sooners sank 3 free throws in the final 17 seconds to down the Demons and give Lon Kruger his 500th career collegiate win in another game decided by 7 points or less.
* - quotes taken from Sooners Sports