In a battle touted as an early Sweet 16 match-up, the Oklahoma Sooners squared off against the Villanova Wildcats on the island of Oahu during the Pearl Harbor Invitational. One team would head home suffering their first loss of the season while the other would solidify themselves as a national title contender. Behind multiple offensive threats and a suffocating defense, the Sooners prevailed 78-55.
Early on, Nova attempted 11 of their first 16 shots from beyond the arc connecting on just one. This would clearly be the stat to follow for the night given the Wildcats have attempted nearly half of their shots on the season from range. The poor performance from range allowed Buddy Hield and his gang of Sooners to build a 12 point lead. However, Josh Hart altered the course of the game by attacking the rim consistently. With dribble penetration, the Wildcats found themselves at the free throw line often climbing back to tie the score up at 26 a piece just before the closing of the first half.
Whatever speech Lon Kruger gave in the locker room worked as Oklahoma answered the call on both ends of the floor. Two players finished the game with double-doubles and neither was named Hield. Yet, a total of five finished in double digit scoring. Ryan Spangler collected 11 points alongside 10 rebounds and Isaiah Cousins dished out 10 assists to go with a game high 19 points.
Defensively, OU had a few miscues on rotations but held a talented Villanova squad to 31.7% shooting from the field and 12.5% from three point range. If Jay Wright hopes to avoid confounding losses in conference, he needs to crack the 3-point shooting mystery of this roster. Regardless, three players scored in double figures including Hart and Ryan Arcidiacono but none amassed more than ten points.
Behind the victory, the Sooners are out to a 6-0 start,their best since the Blake Griffin years. It's time to once again #TakeNotice!