Tyler Neal (15) provides a spark off the bench for the Sooners scoring 18 points in the win (Photo from Soonersports.com)
The chant of the “Woo Pig Sooie” was silenced Saturday afternoon at the Lloyd Noble Center, as Sooner fans, as well as a handful of Razorback faithful, watched the Oklahoma Sooners cruise to victory over Arkansas, 78-63.
In a game where offense was hyped, it was actually defense that took the center stage. In fact, nearly two and a half minutes passed before the first field goal went down. The Sooners opened on a 22-7 run, sparked by birthday boy Andrew Fitzgerald, who after a 17 point and eight rebound performance, had much to celebrate today. From there, the fate was already sealed; the Razorbacks never came closer than six, as the Sooners continued their hot streak improving to 7-1.
The Sooners added to a rebounding margin that was already top ten in the country, edging the Hogs on the boards 38-26. Fitzgerald led the way with eight, Romero Osby was next in line with seven and Tyler Neal added five off the bench.
Speaking of Neal, the sophomore had a career day for the Sooners filling the void after Cameron Clark saw foul trouble early today. He scored a career high of 18 points, added four assists and as mentioned, five boards on the day. Twelve of his 18 came from beyond the arc, where he was 4-8 on the day. For his efforts, Neal is the Sooner Player of the Game.
It was again, Steven Pledger who shouldered the scoring load for the Sooners, with 22 points, 19 of which came in the second half. The Sooners shot 50% form three compared to just 26% by the Razorbacks, and Pledger was 3-5 from long range
Despite being held scoreless, Cameron Clark managed to find other ways for his team to score, dishing out 3 assists on only 13 minutes of play. Sam Grooms, played a major part in controlling the pace against, Arkansas’ full court pressure, with three assists of his own. Barry Honore came and provided solid minutes off the bench with three rebounds and two points.
Overall, it was a very telling win for the Sooners. With this win, a statement has been made that Sooner hoops is back. Even though football is over, Sooner fans have something new to look forward to, a winning basketball program. This team is going to play hard and compete in every game, no matter what. After a win like that, Sooner Nation owes a resounding “Boomer Sooner” to this basketball squad.
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