No one could have expected the events that have unfolded at the 76 Classic in Anaheim this holiday weekend. Many thought it would be a miracle if the Sooners could make it out of their first round game, but now, they are set to face off against Saint Louis on Sunday for the tourney crown. First it was a 74-59 thrashing of the Washington State Cougars on Thanksgiving night, then, just 24 hours later, another convincing 85-73 win over Santa Clara.
The Sooners had to fend off a fierce 25-10 run by the Broncos late, and their lead was sliced to six at one point with under a minute to go, but Steven Pledger (26 points) and the Sooners maintained their composure, never yielding the lead entirely to improve to 4-0 on the season. Pledger also added seven rebounds making him the Sooner Player of the Game.
The defense was once again almost perfect, aside from the late spurt in the 2nd. Holding the Broncos to just 14-33 shooting from beyond the arc and 35% (24-68) shooting on the entire evening.
Rebounding, which has been stressed early and often by many, was also a big key for the Sooners tonight. Oklahoma outrebounded their opponent 47-28 on the evening. Andrew Fitzgerald added a double-double with 12 points and added 13 rebounds, tying his career mark. Romero Osby was just one point shy of a double-double with nine points and 10 boards.
Sam Grooms was again impressive pacing the offense scoring 12 points and dishing six assists following a 10 assist game against Washington State.
Calvin Newell persisted in his role as 6th man providing eight points in 15 minutes.
Overall, it was a very solid performance for the Sooners. It reminded fans of the years that once were and how these Sooners may very well be closer to getting back to those years than many think. It is going to be a very fun and entertaining year of Sooner basketball ahead. Watch out for the Sooners who could very well be crowned your next 76 classic champions.
Oklahoma will face Saint Louis Sunday the 27th. Tip-off is set for 8 PM CST.