Oklahoma defeated the No. 21 ranked BYU Cougars on Tuesday night. Let’s talk about it.
Before the game, The Sooners took a moment to honor legendary singer Toby Keith, who passed away on Monday. There was a moment of silence before it was revealed that his seat at the Lloyd Noble Center had a guitar and a red OU hat in it, also accompanied by a red solo cup. Rest in peace to a true Oklahoma legend.
In the first half, it was a tight game that went back and forth. Both teams struggled to shoot the ball, and the defense was on full display. BYU had a chance to head into the locker room with a 31-25 lead before the Sooners went on a 9-3 run in the last four minutes of the first half. The first half ended all knotted up at 34. It was an interesting half of basketball, to say the least.
Early on the Sooners struggled to guard Forward Fousseyni Traore in the pick-and-roll situations, and he was able to get some easy looks under the basket, or draw contact and go to the free-throw line. He would finish the game with 21 points and five assists. OU also had trouble guarding Dallin Hall throughout the game allowing him to score 17 points and shoot 4/7 from the three-point line. These two provided the main offensive attack for BYU.
In the second half, it was pure domination from the Sooners. They exploded for 48 points. The Lloyd Noble Center was loud, and the team was feeding off of the energy in the building. The Sooners made a good adjustment after halftime of cutting to the rim and trying to get to the foul line. They shot 29 free throws and made 23, which is only 79%, but it was a point of emphasis for the guys to get downhill and get to the stripe. BYU shot 16 free throws and made 12. The free throws made a big difference in the game.
Javian McCollum all year for this Sooners team has been an offensive spark, that gives opposing teams a matchup nightmare. Against BYU, it was not different. Business as usual for McCollum as he dropped 20 points on 45% from the field. BYU is a good defensive team, and he just gave them problems all night. It was not a great shooting night overall from him, and he still ended up with 20, that’s pretty impressive. BYU is ranked 55th in total defense and was only allowing 66.8 points per game.
Milos Uzan also had a good game against the BYU Cougars. He scored 16 points, and was very efficient from the field. All year I have been looking for Uzan to be more aggressive on the offensive end and look to get to his spots and pull the trigger, and he did just that in this game. He was still sharing the ball around totalling four assists. I was very impressed with his performance in a big game. He will be a key piece for Porter Moser down the stretch.
I was also impressed with another Sooner who may be flying under everyone’s radar just a little bit. Rivaldo Soares has been a very big part of the success of this Sooners team, and he has been putting together some very solid games recently. In the last four games, he has put up 12 points against BYU, 11 points against UCF, 10 points against Kansas State, and 19 against Texas Tech. He has been playing much more confidently, and it has been very impactful for this team. Coming down the stretch of the season and heading into March Madness, the Sooners are going to need Soares to continue to play well.
Next up for the Sooners is a home Bedlam matchup against Oklahoma State on Saturday at 6:00 p.m.
Images courtesy of Aden Choate/OU Daily