Oklahoma Basketball: Sooners crush Mercer, 96-82

One can imagine Billy Tubbs watching the current Oklahoma Sooners basketball squad and grinning at the lightning quick pace and the prolific offense.  It’s hard for anyone not to smile while watching the Sooners, unless, of course, you happen to be for the opposing team.  Monday night, as the Sooners dismantled the Mercer Bears, 96-82—a final score that was not indicative of how handily they won the game—that was again the case.

Ryan Spangler started it all off by scoring eight of the Sooners first ten points.  Even though Oklahoma started out down 10-8, the Sooners, fueled by Spangler, answered emphatically with a 16-0 run to take a 24-10 lead in a mere four minutes.  The run, an aesthetically pleasing show of offensive firepower, was underscored by a monstrous dunk from D.J. Bennett.  Spangler, Cameron Clark, and Buddy Hield each were scorching hot in the half, combining to score 31 points, and were each instrumental in giving the Sooners a 45-32 halftime advantage.

Buddy Hield sparked an 18-0 run to start the second half, that propelled the Sooners to victory.  (Photo from Soonersports.com)

Buddy Hield sparked an 18-0 run to start the second half, that propelled the Sooners to victory. (Photo from Soonersports.com)

To start the second half, it was Buddy Hield who would spark a huge Sooner run.  By connecting on a three-pointer and then hitting a jump shot shortly after, Hield provided the impetus for what would end up being an 18-0 run by the Sooners to open the half.  Again, in just under four minutes, the Sooners had seen their lead increase from 13 to 31.  Again, it was Spangler, Hield and Clark at the front of the action, combining to score 16 of the 18 points.  Though the game would soon devolve into a free throw shooting contest, the lead proved to be insurmountable.  Mercer, a veteran team, clawed their way back into the game through the foul line, where they shot 18-for-21 in the second half alone.  However, they were never able to do as much as cut the lead to single digits, and ended up losing the game.

It was a career day for Spangler, who finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds.  However, as mentioned before, the win was a group effort.  Buddy Hield chipped in 20 himself, 14 of which came in the second half in which he was scorching hot, and Cameron Clark added 19.  Jordan Woodard can attribute most of his six assists to the fact that his teammates simply couldn’t miss.  Woodard also did his fair share of scoring, with 13 points of which eight came from the free throw line.  Isaiah Cousins continued his consistent scoring, adding 10 points.

Turnovers were crucial for the Sooners.  Though they only forced 12, Oklahoma outscored Mercer 22-9 in points off of turnovers.  The Sooners clearly made the most of their opportunities to score on miscues.  Though Mercer used the free throw line to crawl back into the game late, it was also a weapon for Oklahoma.  The Sooners shot 26-for-30 from the stripe tonight.  Though the Sooners’ bench was outscored 49-14, the starters outscored Mercer’s, 82-33.

Next up, the Sooners (6-1) will face Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (3-6), on Thursday evening at the Lloyd Noble Center.  Tip-off is set for 7 PM CST.

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