It got to the point where a Madison Square Garden employee had to open a window just to try to cool down the Oklahoma Sooners’ sharp shooting. OU shot the lights out Tuesday night and knocked down 15 of the 29 three-pointers on it’s way to an 85-80 win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. OU’s victory was especially notable because it came without top big man Jamuni McNeace, who was sidelined with an ankle injury.
Lon Kruger’s squad added another impressive non-conference win to it’s NCAA Tournament resume and improved to 7-1 on the season. Brady Manek had struggled to find his shooting stroke through the Sooners’ past several games but caught fire in a big way Tuesday night. The sophomore scored 17 points and knocked down 5-8 shots from beyond the arc in addition to grabbing seven rebounds.
Christian James continued his monster start to the season with a strong 25 point, 10 rebound performance. OU also got an unexpected scoring outburst from Matt Freeman, who knocked down 3-6 three-pointers on his way to tying his season-high of 11 points.
The two teams traded blows for most of the first half when neither with neither team able to pull away. OU took a 43-36 lead into the half thanks, in large part, to Manek’s 11 first half points.
Notre Dame came close a few times in the second half, but the Sooners never surrendered the lead. The nail in the coffin for the Irish came when Christian James knocked down a clutch three to put OU up 5 with just over 90 seconds remaining. James also converted a pair of free throws to ice the game in the final seconds.
The Sooners improved to 7-1 on the year, and their NCAA Tournament resume got a little bit stronger. If OU keeps it going against the likes of Wichita State, USC, Creighton and Northwestern, the team could end up with a much better margin for error during the Big 12 gauntlet.
OU’s next game is this Saturday, December 8th against Wichita State at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.