Ryan Aber, The Oklahoman
Printed 5: 07 p.m. ET Jan. 30, 2021
NORMAN, Okla. — Playing with out a pair of starters, including leading scorer Austin Reaves, Oklahoma discovered a way to win against a high-10 opponent once again, building a lead and then maintaining on late for a 66-61 win over No. 8 Alabama in the SEC/Expansive 12 Challenge at Lloyd Noble Center on Saturday.
The Sooners have now gained a season-excessive five consecutive games, each of the last three over high-10 opponents.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, Oklahoma is the primary team since 1974 to win four regular-season games over high-10 opponents in the same month.
Right here are three assorted observations from the win:
Expansive defense late
Alabama had damage the Sooners from the perimeter in stretches nonetheless in the closing minutes, Oklahoma came up gargantuan defensively.
The Crimson Tide passed over its last eight photographs, now not making a field goal in the final four minutes.
Early in the game, the Sooners’ defense was keyed by turnovers.
Late, although, it was largely about stable one-on-one defense along the perimeter that minute Alabama’s looks.
Manek heats up
Since strolling back from COVID-19, Brady Manek hasn’t had great of an offensive impact, averaging accurate four aspects per game in the last three.
Manek’s Saturday did not start out a lot better, as he went 1 for 7 from the bottom over the game’s first 27 minutes.
Nonetheless then the senior came alive, scoring eight consecutive Oklahoma aspects all via a 12-1 escape that attach the Sooners up 52-41.
Getting Manek going offensively will be a gargantuan boost for the Sooners hopes of a postseason escape.
Whereas Oklahoma has discovered renewed defensive vitality with Elijah Harkless in the starting lineup instead of Manek, Manek is a sophisticated matchup when he’s taking pictures properly.
Hot start, even shorthanded
Playing with out Reaves, their leading scorer, and Alondes Williams, the Sooners leaned heavily on defense early to wait on create on the offensive cease.
Oklahoma built a like a flash 11-2 lead in the primary with the assistance of five early Alabama turnovers.
By the purpose the game was 7: 20 in, the Crimson Tide had grew to change into the ball over eight instances.
Alabama took care of the ball the remainder of the half, although, with accurate two extra turnovers by halftime.
The Sooners went into an offensive lull after hitting 5 of their first 9, following that with a 1 of 14 stretch.
Oklahoma regained its footing before halftime, although, hitting 6 of seven to take a 32-29 lead into halftime.