OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma’s defense suffocated Wichita State in an 80-48 win on Saturday at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Sooners held the Shockers to 6-for-30 shooting in the second half. Overall, Wichita State shot…
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma’s defense suffocated Wichita State in an 80-48 win on Saturday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Sooners held the Shockers to 6-for-30 shooting in the second half. Overall, Wichita State shot just 24.2 percent — the fourth-lowest field goal percentage by an Oklahoma opponent during the Lon Kruger coaching era started in 2011.
“Guys just have an understanding of their roles, what they need to do to help the team to be effective defensively,” Kruger said. “It has become contagious. Guys have a lot of pride on that end of the floor.”
The Sooners have held three of their past four opponents under 60 points, fueling a four-game win streak.
“I think that just has a lot to do with us enjoying playing defense,” Oklahoma guard Miles Reynolds said. “We know when we’re locked in defensively. When we’re playing as a unit, not too many teams are going to get very good looks against us. That’s going to allow us to get out in transition.”
The offense was working, too. Christian James had 14 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, Reynolds scored 14 points, Matt Freeman scored 11 and Aaron Calixte added 10 for the Sooners (8-1).
James, the Big 12’s leading scorer with nearly 20 points per game, made 3 of 6 3-pointers.
Markis McDuffie scored 19 points for Wichita State, but he made just 6 of 17 shots. No one else scored in double figures for the Shockers (4-4).
“We weren’t executing,” McDuffie said. “So I guess guys were feeling we had to force up shots. We weren’t poised.”
The Sooners led 25-22 in the first half before a 3-pointer by James started a 7-0 run that pushed Oklahoma’s lead to 32-22. Oklahoma led 32-27 at halftime behind 12 points and 10 rebounds from James.
A 3-pointer by freshman Jamal Bieniemy early in the second half pushed Oklahoma’s lead back up to 10. A 3-pointer by Calixte increased the lead to 51-34, and the Sooners controlled the rest of the game.
“It was a good win against a club that’s going to win a lot of ball games this year,” Kruger said. “I thought the first half we looked careless with the ball. I was really impressed with the way the guys regrouped and really came out and played awfully well in the second half.”
Wichita State: The Shockers, who beat Big 12 Conference member Baylor last Saturday, had been competitive in their other losses this season. The Shockers had been averaging 74.7 points per game before getting shut down on Saturday.
Oklahoma: The Sooners improved a strong nonconference resume that already included wins over Florida and Notre Dame. Oklahoma outrebounded the Shockers 52-33 and posted its largest victory margin of the season.
Wichita State’s McDuffie became the 47th player in school history to score at least 1,000 points in his career. It happened in his 100th career game with the Shockers. The senior forward entered the day as the leading scorer in the American Athletic Conference with 19.6 points per game.
Starting center Jamuni McNeace sat out with a right ankle injury from last Sunday’s practice. The team’s No. 2 scorer and rebounder also missed Oklahoma’s win over Notre Dame. Kruger said he expects McNeace to return for the Sooners next game against Southern California.
HE SAID IT
McDuffie: “Oklahoma just took off and started playing as a team. They started knocking down shots, gaining a lot of confidence. We were still stuck in our ways, trying to figure out how we’re going to turn the game up. We just couldn’t do that today.”
Wichita State hosts Jacksonville State on Wednesday.
Oklahoma plays Southern California next Saturday in Tulsa.
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