Oklahoma won its 13th straight season opener as they hit the road and took down Memphis 84-78 inside of FedEx Forum on Tuesday evening. Buddy Hield totaled 30 points on only 19 shot attempts to lead the No. 8 Sooners.
Despite the final score showing a six-point OU win, the Sooners had to claw back in the final minutes in order to come out on top.
Memphis (1-1) held a 74-71 lead with 3:16 left in the game until Lon Kruger’s Sooners decided it was time to take control. After a Spangler missed layup, point guard Jordan Woodard crashed the offensive glass and was able to grab the rebound and get an easy layup to bring OU within one point.
A couple of OU possessions later the Sooners still trailed by one, but Woodard found a cutting Ryan Spangler and dished the big man an alley-oop that gave OU the lead with 1:24 left in the game.
After a Memphis missed three-pointer, the Sooners desperately needed a basket to extend their lead with less than a minute left in the game, and Woodard was ready and willing to continue his clutch play. The junior took a pass on the right wing and nailed a contested three-pointer while falling down to extend the OU lead to four with only 38 seconds left in the game.
Hield nailed four free throws down the final stretch to ice the win for OU.
Along with his clutch late-game performance, Woodard flirted with a triple-double—tallying 15 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Isaiah Cousins totaled 13 points while Ryan Spangler added 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Part of the reason OU trailed late was its lack of rebounding on the defensive end. Memphis totaled 13 offensive rebounds in the first half and finished with 23 for the game. Fortunately for the Sooners, they were hitting the deep ball consistently. OU made three-pointers at a 42.3 percent clip in the game while Hield connected four of his eight shots.
OU’s win marks the first over Memphis in program history. Before today, the Sooners were 0-6 against the Tigers.
The Sooners will host McNeese State this Friday night in their home opener with tip off set for 7 p.m. inside of Lloyd Noble Center.