Oral Roberts-Oklahoma Preview

BY foxsports • December 11, 2015

Though Buddy Hield was a preseason All-American, Oklahoma continues to prove it's much more than a one-man team.

With so many dangerous 3-point shooters, Lon Kruger's squad is creating headaches for opposing defenses.

After blowing out a fellow top-10 team with their deadly long-range shooting, the seventh-ranked Sooners look to extend their winning streak over Oral Roberts to 14 on Saturday.

Oklahoma (6-0) faced few challenges over the season's first three weeks, winning by six at Memphis in its opener and cruising past struggling Wisconsin in its only games against major- conference opponents. It was expecting a test Monday against No. 9 Villanova in the Pearl Harbor Invitational in Honolulu, but that never materialized.

The Sooners made their first six shots - all 3-pointers - to build a 12-point lead and went on to make 14 of 26 from beyond the arc in a 78-55 victory.

Senior Isaiah Cousins hit all four 3-point attempts and led five Oklahoma players in double figures with 19 points while adding a career-high 10 assists. Hield had 18 points and made four 3s while reserve Dinjiyl Walker hit three 3-pointers and scored 11.

''That's what we do,'' said Hield, the reigning Big 12 Player of the Year. ''Coach always preaches moving the basketball and we can't be selfish. That's how we make plays for each other and we've got to be an unselfish team and everybody is going to be able to get shots up."

Oklahoma is third in the nation in 3-point shooting at 46.5 percent, with Jordan Woodard (13 of 25), Cousins (14 of 26) and Hield (17 of 35) shooting better than 48 percent. In the last two games, Cousins has hit all seven 3s attempted while Woodard has made 8 of 12.

The Sooners are just as proficient defending the 3 as they are shooting it, limiting opponents to 22.8 percent - best in the nation.

Oklahoma's defensive focus will again be on Obi Emegano, among the nation's leading scorers at 23.3 points per game and shooting 45.9 percent from 3-point range on 61 attempts.

Emegano entered last December's matchup averaging a team-best 16.9 points, but went scoreless and missed all three shots while turning the ball over three times in 26 minutes.

Hield and Cousins combined to go 6 of 11 from 3-point range and total 29 points in the 85-53 win, then-No. 15 Oklahoma's 13th straight in the series since dropping the first two meetings.

That was Oral Roberts' most recent Top 25 matchup before this contest. The Golden Eagles have been outscored by an average of 21.0 points in losing five straight to ranked squads.

Oral Roberts is also 2-10 against teams from major conferences since the start of 2012-13, with both wins coming over crosstown rival Tulsa.

Four days after beating the Golden Hurricane 70-68, Oral Roberts (8-2) cruised to an 88-53 victory over NAIA member John Brown on Wednesday.

Off to its best start since opening 9-2 in 2004-05, the Golden Eagles led by 25 at halftime. With the outcome in little doubt, coach Scott Sutton had an opportunity to give his starters some extra rest with this matchup looming.

"It's always a fun night when you get to play everyone, and we got out of it what we wanted to," Sutton said.

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