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Oklahoma Sooners Basketball: Sooners Attack the Bears, Beat Northern Colorado 87-66

Oklahoma fought off a feisty Northern Colorado team and took control in the second half to seal the win.

Although Northern Colorado proved to have some fight in them throughout this contest, OU managed to utilize their athleticism and better talent to grab the win at home 87-66. Oklahoma did not appear to be dominant for most of this game, but turned on the jets in the second half, outscoring the Bears by 15 points in the second half.

Lon Kruger, who is known for picking a lineup and sticking with it throughout a season, decided to switch it up with Matt Freeman getting the start over Kristian Doolittle. This proved to have a good effect on Doolittle, while Freeman suffered throughout the game, not scoring a single point.

Oklahoma began the game with a Freeman deflected pass, and a foul for Freeman after diving for the loose ball. The Sooners answered with solid defense on the other end, with a Khadeem Lattin block off of a Jordan Davis driving layup and a shot clock violation.

Rashard Odomes scored the first points for Oklahoma off of his signature move of attacking the paint and taking advantage of his size, floating it over the defender. Christian James joined Odomes in scoring, keeping up his hot shooting from beyond the arch with knocking down his first two threes.

Woodard attacked the paint around 16:40 drawing defenders, which allowed him to float an alley-oop to a soaring Lattin. Lattin was able to get his average of two blocks per game in the first four minutes to add to his two points. He finished the night with 10 points, six rebounds and five blocks.

Oklahoma raced out to a fast start, shooting 80 percent from the floor and kept Northern Colorado to shooting only 33 percent by the first media timeout.

OU's defense began to show signs of what they could do throughout the first half and even into the second half. The Sooners racked up six blocks and four steals in the first half, limiting the Bears to shooting 37.1 percent from the floor and 27.8 percent from the 3-point line. OU's stingy defense would finish the night with 11 steals and nine blocks.

D.J. Miles for Northern Colorado was able to knock down two 3-pointers, his second one bringing the Bears closer 14-10. The Bears began to expose the Sooners with attacking the rim, and Chaz Glotta took advantage of this when he got an and-one off of a floater, cutting the lead to 18-15.

Doolittle responded very well to being benched, going 3-3 from the floor to start the game and grabbing three rebounds halfway through the first half. Perhaps playing for his starting spot back, he finished the game with 17 points and five boards.

Dante Buford was able to score his first points of the season with a put back with 7:33 to go in the half, giving OU a 6-point edge over the Bears 25-19.

Northern Colorado managed to keep themselves in the game due mostly to the poor shooting from the Sooners from downtown. After James knocked down OU's first two 3-pointers, Oklahoma missed their next 10 3-pointers. The drought from downtown ended with a Buford corner 3-pointer at 4:53, making it 30-23 Sooners.

Buford knocked down his second three of the game, making it 38-28 right before the half. However, Jonah Radebaugh answered back with a 3-pointer of his own cutting it back to 38-31. The pesky Bears kept with the Sooners through the first half, only trailing 40-34.

OU shot poorly from the 3-point line in the first half making only 4 of 15 shots, but managed to make 53 percent from the floor altogether. The struggles from the free throw line continued in the first half, as Oklahoma shot 44 percent. James lead the team in scoring at the half with nine points, with Buford following behind him with eight points.

OU began the second half sloppily, coughing up the ball twice early allowing UNC to cut the lead to 40-39. Although OU only had six turnovers the entire first half, Oklahoma turned the ball over four times very quickly in the second half. Lon and his crew managed to adjust and pushed the lead to 10 at the first media timeout.

The 3-point shooting of the Bears helped them keep fighting, with Glotta knocking down a pair of 3-pointers and his second one making it only a three point game with 11:40 to go in the half. Lattin eased the offensive woes of his team with a putback dunk off of a missed layup by Darrion Strong-Moore, making it 57-52. The Bears went on a 3-minute scoring drought, not scoring from 11:40 to 8:27, which allowed OU to establish an 8-point lead.

Oklahoma began to separate themselves, acquiring a 10-2 run and a Kameron McGusty 3-pointer that gave OU a 16-point lead with about five minutes to play. OU managed to stretch the lead in the second half to as much as 23 points two times off of a Doolittle tip-in and a Jordan Shepherd 3-pointer.

Despite a sluggish start to second half, OU seemed to hit the cruise control halfway through and showed their superiority to Northern Colorado. The Sooners managed to finish with shooting 35 percent from the 3-point line, but shot 54 percent from the floor. OU dominated Northern Colorado with points in the paint, Oklahoma accumulating 52 points in the paint. The depth of OU was evident with 41 points coming off the bench. The suffocating defense of the Sooners allowed them to score 16 fast break points compared to the Bears only accounting for two.

Woodard and James both finished with 14 points, with Woodard adding nine rebounds and seven assists to his stat line. James also accumulated seven rebounds to top off a solid performance. The surprises of the night came from Buford and Doolittle. Buford, who had done virtually nothing up to this point in the season, was able to produce 8 points off of a pair of 3-pointers. Doolittle, who could have been shaky due to being benched for the first time, answered the call and lead the team in scoring.

Sooners pulled away in the second half and finished this one 87-66, giving OU a 3-0 advantage all-time against Northern Colorado. Oklahoma will next travel up to Wisconsin where they will face a Badger team that is ranked no. 17 and just beat no. 22 Syracuse by 17 points. This will be a huge test for the Sooners, and will tip-off at noon on Saturday.