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Oklahoma Sooners Basketball: Sooners Hold On to Beat Clemson

OU finishes 3rd in the Tire Pros Invitational with the victory

NCAA Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Virginia Commonwealth v Oklahoma Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Two days after giving up an 18-point lead and falling to Northern Iowa, the Sooners were able to weather another late storm, defeating Clemson by a score of 70-64. Jordan Woodard led the scoring with 21 points, while Christian James (17 points, 6-10 from the floor, 5-5 from three) and Kameron McGusty (14 points, 6-8 from the floor) also contributed to a nice victory for the Sooners. Oklahoma finished 3rd in the Tire Pros Invitational (Kissimmee, Fla.) and improved to 3-1 on the season.

How It Happened

  • The Sooners opened the game by getting out to a 10-5 lead on the Tigers, and the scoring included a three-pointer off the bench from Darrion Strong-Moore.
  • Freshman Kameron McGusty made it 19-13 with 8:39 left in the 1st half with an impressive and-1. McGusty scored nine of Oklahoma’s first 19 points.
  • With under two minutes left in the half, Khadeem Lattin made a pair of jumpers to stretch the OU lead to 33-22.
  • With the clock winding down, Jordan Woodard drove to the hoop and impressively converted a reverse layup attempt to give OU a 35-23 lead going into the locker room.
  • After missing a pair of three-point attempts early in the second half, McGusty would not be deterred, as he confidently stepped up and drilled one to give OU a 42-27 lead with 16:06 left in the game.
  • Clemson began to charge back into this one when Jaron Blossomgame hit a three ball at the 11:44 mark to make it 47-32. By the 8:17 mark, the Sooner lead would be down to 51-43.
  • With 7:16 left, Christian James hit his second three of the game to give OU a 54-43 lead. James would hit another at the 6:06 mark to give OU a 58-47 advantage, but Clemson would go on a 9-0 run to bring the lead down to 58-56 with 4:15 remaining.
  • Christian James came up big again by drilling a three with 3:52 to give OU a 61-56 lead, and he’d connect again at the 2:55 mark to give OU a 64-56 advantage. A made layup on OU’s next possession would give OU a double-digit lead.
  • Clemson’s last gasp came at the 1:11 mark when Marcquise Reed hit a three to make it 66-61. Jordan Woodard would make a layup with 36 seconds to make it 68-61, effectively putting the Tigers away.

Avoiding Deja Vu

On Friday, The Sooners held an 18-point lead over a good Northern Iowa team before eventually becoming inept on offense and choking the game away. On Sunday, the Sooners also had an 18-point lead in the second half, and they nearly blew it again. However, the Sooners stayed calm, moved the ball around and hit shots down the stretch this time around. These early-season tournaments serve as learning experiences for young squads such as this, and it looks like the Sooners learned a lesson after coming completely unraveled on Friday.

Inside The Box

  • Jordan Woodard led the way for the Sooners with 21 points on 8-15 shooting, improving his season scoring average to 17 PPG. He also added nine assists, a season high.
  • Christian James finished with 17 points and was 5-5 from the three-point line in this one. He scored 12 in each of his first two games and fouled out with nine points against Northern Iowa on Friday.
  • Kameron McGusty scored 14 points in 18 minutes of play and was 6-8 from the field. The freshman hadn’t scored more than four points in a game coming into Sunday.
  • Khadeem Lattin finished with 10 points and showed off his improved range, hitting a pair of deep two-point jumpers as well as a fade-away. He also recorded a pair of blocks.
  • Outside of those four, the scoring was light. Darrion Strong-Moore hit a pair of threes to total six points, and Kristian Doolittle scored two points on a pair of free throws. Other than that, no one else scored for the Sooners.
  • Rashard Odomes got himself into some foul trouble early and failed to score in 10 minutes of action after scoring 15 against Tulane and 11 against UNI. He did, however, register a block on a Donte Grantham dunk attempt.

Other Notes

  • Dante Buford entered the game in the second half, making his first appearance of the season. Buford had previously been dealing with a groin strain and has also been in Kruger’s bad graces. Walk-on C.J. Cole has appeared occasionally in Buford’s absence, and he saw some action in the first half.
  • This was Oklahoma’s first ever meeting with Clemson in men’s basketball. They’ve unfortunately met a few times on the football field, with OU losing the last three meetings between the schools on the gridiron.

What’s Next?

Oklahoma will have tune-ups against Abilene Christian (11/25, 2 PM) and Northern Colorado (11/29, 7 PM) in Norman before heading to Madison to take on the Badgers. That game will be played on December 3rd (yes, the same day as the Bedlam game) at noon on the Big Ten Network.