The Oklahoma Sooners, battered and bruised, defeated the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Saturday at the Lloyd Noble Center. There were plenty of factors to grab the interest of onlookers; the in-state rivalry; the probability of a high-scoring affair given that both teams had surrendered over 70 points per game this season; but most of all, the matchup of brother vs. brother: Jordan Woodard vs. James Woodard.
James, a class above little brother, Jordan, is in his sophomore year at Tulsa, while Jordan is a freshman at Oklahoma. Both are from Arcadia, Oklahoma, so the fact that they are local only added to the excitement.
Jordan not only got the win over his big brother, but also outperformed him individually. He scored 24 points and dished out eight assists—both career highs. He also tied the Sooner record for most free throws attempted in a game, as he shot 22 times from the stripe. 17 of his points came by way of the freebie. Not bad for a freshman.
Though Jordan had the better performance, James still shined in his own right. He led the Hurricane with 19 points and six rebounds, going 3-for-7 from three on the evening. He is growing into a great player, and should be a major force before his college career is over.
The Sooners were also led by Buddy Hield, who finished second in scoring with 23 points, extending his streak of double-digit scoring games to 10. Hield was 8-for-15 from the floor. Cameron Clark and Isaiah Cousins also chipped in 15 points apiece and Tyler Neal came off the bench to add 12 points in 17 minutes.
The win is even more impressive considering the Sooners had to get it without two key players, Je’lon Hornbeak and Ryan Spangler. Hornbeak, usually the first player off the bench, is out 4-6 weeks after suffering a broken foot in practice, and Spangler was kicked in the calf early in the first half, returned briefly, and then sat out the entire second half. The injury is not thought to be serious. Spangler did manage two points and six rebounds in the 12 minutes of action that he did see.
Even with Spangler out, the Sooners managed to win the battle on the boards, 43-32. Oklahoma was efficient with the ball, committing only seven turnovers, though they didn’t force many, perhaps missing Hornbeak, who was one of the team’s leaders in steals.
Next up, the Sooners (9-1) will take on UT-Arlington (4-6) on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at the Lloyd Noble Center. Tip-off is set for 7 PM CST.
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