NORMAN, Okla. —
Cameron Clark had his total arsenal on display. The Oklahoma senior scored from all over the court as the Sooners defeated Arkansas-Little Rock 101-81 Friday at Lloyd Noble Center.
Coming off the tough loss to No. 1 Michigan State, the Sooners were craving to get back on the winning path. Clark did everything possible to make sure that took place with 22 points and eight rebounds against the Trojans.
“Just been working on my game,” Clark said. “Trying to perfect my game. Stretching out to the 3-point line, I just did a good job of knocking them down today. My teammates just give me great confidence. They do a good job of getting me the ball.”
Oklahoma held a 23-point lead before Will Neighbour helped the Trojans cut the deficit to 11 by scoring in the paint and going to the free throw line.
But the Sooners had a response each time. Whether it was a Jordan Woodard 3-pointer or a fast break layup off a turnover, OU was back up by 17 at the 7-minute mark of the second half.
That would be as close as UALR would get the rest of the game as Oklahoma cruised down the stretch.
“When you are talking about a situation like that when you are fighting from behind, and you’re playing very well-coached team that knows how to break runs, we’ve got to do a better job of continuing what got us back to that point,” Trojans coach Steve Shields said. “We lose track, lose focus at times of what got us back to 11 in those situations.”
Clark shot 8 for 18 from the field, including four 3-pointers to lead the Sooners (5-1). Woodard added 16. OU had five players score in double figures.
“It’s the characteristic of this group. They have been very unselfish,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “They haven’t been that concerned about the stat sheet. They move the ball and they want to get the ball to people to get good results. It’s good to see a lot of plays being made for each other.”
The Trojans (2-4) were paced by Neighbour, who had 16 points. Josh Hagins chipped in with 12.
The Trojans came out running against the Sooners early. Leroy Isler had nine points in the opening four minutes as he took advantage of Oklahoma’s zone defense.
OU fell in love with the long distance shot in the first half as they didn’t hesitate to hoist shots from behind the arc. As a team they finished the first half 7 for 13 from 3-point range.
Led by Woodard, it was the Sooners constant pressure when they pushed the tempo on fast breaks that led to a 22-9 run to give OU a 34-23 advantage with eight minutes left in the first.
“I wasn’t worried about my stat line or anything like that,” Woodard said. “I just wanted to go out there and play hard for my teammates. I’m feeling pretty comfortable right now in the six games I’ve played so far.”
Oklahoma’s full court press began to wear on the Trojans. Whenever OU made a basket, Buddy Hield and Isaiah Cousins trapped the ball handler in the backcourt and attempted to come up with a turnover. UALR wasn’t able to handle the pressure and fell behind by 23 points.
However, the Trojans ended the half on a 10-2 run to close deficit to 59-44 despite having zero offensive rebounds in the first half.
“I didn’t think our effort was what it needed to be in transition against a very good Oklahoma team,” Shields said. “We knew coming in they were a team that could put up points quickly. They push the basketball extremely well and score in a number of ways. I didn’t think we did a very good job in the first half.”