Points didn’t come as easy for Porter Moser and the Oklahoma Sooners as they did in the exhibition win against Rogers State last week. The end result was the same though as Moser walked off the court in the Lloyd Noble Center with his first official win as Oklahoma’s head coach. The result came by way of a 77-59 defeat of Northwestern State in a game that showed true potential of who this team can be under Moser but also the reality of the work that still needs to be done in order for them to compete in the Big 12.
The Game Defining Moment
Northwestern played Oklahoma to within three points in the first half but the Sooners pulled away in the second half by outscoring the Demons 49-34. The tone for the final twenty minutes of play was set by Jalen Hill who blocked a shot from Brian White, grabbed the rebound, and then went coast-to-coast for a bucket that put the Sooners back up by three and brought the crowd, and bench, to life. The game wasn’t the same for either team after this moment.
In recent seasons bench scoring has been pretty lean for Oklahoma. One of the first tasks that Moser had to do upon arriving in Norman was rebuild the roster and in doing so he re-established the bench. On Tuesday night the Sooner bench scored 21 points and was led by freshman CJ Noland who scored nine on 4-of-6 shooting from the floor. That’s definitely a welcomed sight for OU basketball fans!
After scoring on a barrage of 3-point shots in the exhibition game the Sooners couldn’t quite get them to fall in the season opener. Oklahoma countered this by working the ball under the basket where 44 of its 77 points came from the paint. Despite shooting just 36% from 3-point range the Sooners were able to score on 34 of their 70 possessions.
Gotta Get Better On The Boards
Despite starting a four-guard lineup against the Sooners, Northwestern State was able to outrebound Oklahoma by a margin of 34-32. That’s definitely a stat that Porter Moser won’t want to see become a trend as the season moves forward.
Take The Ball And Soar!
The Sooners had eight steals and five dunks in this game.
The Problem Child
Northwestern’s Kendal Coleman scored 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the floor. He also contributed a blocked shot and six rebounds. Coleman’s night could have been even greater had he not gone 1-of-6 from the free throw line.
Jalen Hill and Tanner Groves each scored 15 points on the night to lead the Sooners in scoring. Groves was a rebound shy of a double-double and Hill added three steals to his performance as well.
The Sooners are back home again on Friday night against UTSA.
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