The Oklahoma Sooners needed a win in the worst way Wednesday night in Stillwater, and a freshman point guard was able to lead them to just that.
Jamal Bieniemy, starting in only his second game, went 6/6 from the field (including 3/3 from deep), grabbed three steals and didn’t commit a single turnover in front of a hostile crowd at Oklahoma State.
The 70-61 victory improved OU’s record to 14-5 overall and 3-4 in Big 12 play.
UNHITCH THE WAGON! #Sooners fight back from 1️⃣9️⃣ down to SWEEP Bedlam!— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) January 24, 2019
It's the largest road comeback by a major-conference team this season.
Quick Recap: https://t.co/nsQCNTYpgs pic.twitter.com/8axO8gDkAw
The Sooners ended up in an early hole, as Lindy Waters & Co. started 6/8 from deep and 10/14 overall. Coupling that with some inept OU offense resulted in a 28-9 deficit for the Sooners, but Oklahoma’s depth and experience ended up taking hold as the first half went on. By the 1:16 mark, OSU had cooled down and the Sooners had cut the deficit to three.
OU nipped at Oklahoma State’s heels for the first 10 minutes of the second half before Jamal Bieniemy tied it up with an impressive drive and finish off the glass.
With just over three minutes remaining in the contest, OU had the ball and was looking to add to a 63-61 lead. Rashard Odomes took it to the bucket, missed, grabbed his rebound, went to the floor in a scrum and mushed the ball in the direction of fellow senior Christian James. James then found Bieniemy, who calmly drilled a huge three to give OU a five-point cushion. From there, OU never looked back.
Bieniemy led the way with 17 points, but four other Sooners came up big with double-figure scoring efforts. Brady Manek went 6/11 from the field and finished with 15 points, while Rashard Odomes contributed 11 points and continued his impressive run of play. However, the most refreshing sight of the night was a productive Jamuni McNeace, who came off the bench to score 13 points (5/6, 3/5 FT) in 19 minutes of action. He wasn’t quite his old, bouncy self, but he finally appears to be turning a bit of a corner.
As a team, the Sooners 50 percent (26/52) from the field and 6/18 from three-point range compared to 22/52 and 12/17, respectively, for Oklahoma State. OU only committed six turnovers compared to 13 for OSU, and that proved costly for the Cowboys as OU held a 21-4 advantage on points off turnovers.
Yes, Oklahoma State is obviously short on depth and is a young team, but this OU squad deserves a ton of credit for keeping its head up and prevailing in a tough situation. OU absolutely had to have a win tonight to keep the ship afloat, and they got it done in the end.
The Sooners get a break from Big 12 play this Saturday as they host the Vanderbilt Commodores in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. The game tips off at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
SEC/Big 12 Challenge Schedule (CT)
Alabama at Baylor - 11 a.m. - ESPNU
Iowa State at Ole Miss - 11 a.m. - ESPN
Florida at TCU - 11 a.m. - ESPN2
South Carolina at Oklahoma State - 1 p.m. - ESPNU
Texas at Georgia - 1 p.m. - ESPN2
Kansas State at Texas A&M - 1 p.m. - ESPN
West Virginia at Tennessee - 3 p.m. - ESPN
Vanderbilt at Oklahoma - 3 p.m. - ESPN2
Arkansas at Texas Tech - 5 p.m. - ESPN2
Kansas at Kentucky - 5 p.m. - ESPN