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Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma Survives Battle 4 Atlantis Opener With 65-60 Win Over Florida

M. Hofeld

matthofeld

In Oklahoma’s previous two games against Florida they’ve come out on the wrong side of the scoreboard. Not this time though. The Sooners notched their first ever victory over the Gators by taking control of the game early and then hanging on in a wild 65-60 finish to open the Battle 4 Atlantis.

Jamuni McNeace provided a rim-protecting defensive presence and tallied up 11 points in helping the Sooners take control early. Providing the types of vicious blocks that Oklahoma fans have become accustomed to seeing from the 6-10 senior, McNeace had four swats for the game and also pulled down six rebounds.

A Miles Reynolds layup, near the seven minute mark of the first half, established a 24-13 lead for Oklahoma but that was the most breathing room the Sooners would have on the day. Florida quickly closed the gap, eventually tying the game 30-30 on a KeVaughn Allen Dunk with just over a minute remaining in the half. McNeace was good on a layup though, with 38 seconds remaining, to send Oklahoma into the locker room with a 32-30 lead.

Oklahoma built a 9-point lead in the second half, with Reynolds once again being the culprit. He sunk a pair of free throws to give the Sooners a 59-50, with 5:28 remaining, but Florida still had one run left. The Gators cut it as close as 63-60 on a Noah Locke three-point shot with 2:22 remaining but that would be the last basket Florida would score. Free throws by Aaron Calixte gave the Sooners a two-possession lead and provided the final score of 65-60.

Christian James was held below his season average of 22.7 points per game but his 18 points still led all scorers in the game. For the first time this season Brady Manek failed to record a double-double. The sophomore forward grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds but was only able to contribute six points. OU also greatly benefited from Rashard Odomes who came off the bench to record a season-high 11 points.

The Sooners will play the winner of Stanford/Wisconsin at 12:30 (CT) tomorrow.

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