The Oklahoma Sooners took care of business in exhibition play against the Southeastern Oklahoma State Savage Storm, winning 89-76.
The starting five for OU on Tuesday night were freshman De’Vion Harmon, redshirt junior Austin Reaves, senior Kristian Doolittle, sophomore Jamal Bieniemy and junior Brady Manek. Combined, the starters accounted for 66 of Oklahoma’s 89 points.
Three true freshmen made significant impacts in their OU debuts. Jalen Hill and Victor Iwuakor scored 11 and 10 points, respectively. Meanwhile, the aforementioned De’Vion Harmon took over down the stretch in the second half. For the night, the Denton, Texas native racked up 22 points on 10-15 shooting from the field while adding three assists, three rebounds, two steals and no turnovers.
Veteran Brady Manek led the team with 23 points on 9-15 shooting. The junior came out firing in the first half, but cooled off for a stretch until midway through the second.
One of the storylines during the night was the battle between brothers, as Brady’s older brother Kellen Manek plays for SEOSU. It was fun to watch the boys from Harrah, Oklahoma trade shots on the court. By the final buzzer, the Sooners’ Manek nearly doubled his big bro’s scoring output, 23 to 12.
In the first half, the Savage Storm used a barrage of threes to take a 26-21 lead, but Oklahoma responded with a 22-6 run to go up 43-32 before the break. Newcomers Austin Reaves and De’Vion Harmon led the Sooners’ surge back on top, and from that point on it was a back and forth affair that saw OU’s lead never relinquished again.
Jamal Bieniemy was one of the team standouts in 2018 as a freshman, but on Tuesday he struggled to find his shot for much of the game. It wasn’t until the waning minutes of the game before he found the bottom of the net with a triple. Overall, the sophomore went 1-6 from the field in 23 minutes of play. Going forward, his production will need to be more consistent if the Sooners want to make noise in the Big 12.
While it wasn’t the most efficient game for Lon Kruger’s team, it was a solid start given the number of newcomers playing extended minutes. Five players recorded double figures in the scoring department, including the two freshmen off the bench. What’s even better is that 47.4% from the field and only seven turnovers are both positive and replicable statistics for this group mixed with veterans and youth.
Next Tuesday, Nov. 5, the Oklahoma Sooners officially tip-off the regular season against the UTSA Roadrunners in the comfy confines of the Lloyd Noble Center at 7 p.m. CT. You can catch the action on SoonerSports.TV.
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