After being off for a week for finals, Oklahoma got back on the court Saturday against Tulsa. The Sooners didn't look rusty, rolling past the Golden Hurricane, 87-68. Here are some thoughts and observations about the Sooners' win.
-After struggling at times on offense in the Battle 4 Atlantis, OU coach Lon Kruger said the Sooners needed to reevaluate some things offensively. One of the keys was figuring out a way to get Houston transfer TaShawn Thomas more touches. Saturday was the first glimpse at what Thomas can do with a lot of touches and aggression. Thomas scored a game-high 25 points and was 9-of-12 from the field and 7-of-8 from the free throw line and just went to town on the Tulsa bigs. It took longer than expected, but this is why the OU coaching staff was so excited to have Thomas available for this season. With Thomas doing work on the inside, it opened up the floor for the rest of the team, particularly…
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-Isaiah Cousins. It's hard to adequately describe Cousins' transformation since his freshman year. Last year, Cousins was a much more efficient shooter but this year, he's become a more complete player and on a day when Buddy Hield shot just 4-of-17 from the field, that's important. Cousins had 21 and went 5-of-8 from 3-point range. That's a bigtime performance from a player that's turned into one of OU's most consistent offensive threats.
-Speaking of consistent threats, Hield has been really up and down this season, but overall, he's struggled. He's only shot over 40 percent from the field in two games this season and has attempted seven or more 3-pointers in all but two games. Hield started the season with a bang and has shown flashes of becoming an elite player, but it just seems like he's pressing a lot. With the rest of the team playing well, particularly Cousins and Thomas, Hield needs to just slow down and let the game come to him. The Sooners will need him playing well if they hope to make a run at a Big 12 title this year.
-The Sooners were all about the 3-pointer last season and loved it at the beginning of this season as well. The problem is, OU hasn't been shooting it that well from deep and was just 8-of-32 on Saturday. The good news is OU still managed to put up 87 points. When you play offense through your bigs in the post, poor showings from deep aren't as detrimental to production.
-Jordan Woodard has also really upped his game this year. He's not scoring a lot, but he had nine assists and just one turnover on Saturday. Regardless of opponent, that's really good for the sophomore.
-The Sooners' one bit of bad news was a sprained right knee for freshman Khadeem Lattin. Lattin suffered the injury at the beginning of the second half and didn't return, although Kruger said after the game he probably could have returned. He didn't have to and the Sooners are lucky the injury isn't worse than it is.
-Up Next: Oklahoma takes on Oral Roberts at 6 p.m. on Tuesday night at Lloyd Noble Center.