OU basketball fights back, earns biggest win of season

On3 imageby:Bob Przybylo02/06/24

BPrzybylo

Nobody will hesitate to say the heart and soul of the OU basketball team is sophomore guard Milos Uzan. He’s the leader.

Not always the most vocal, but he knew how important Tuesday was. And Uzan might have saved his best game for the one where OU needed it the most.

Uzan was sensational in directing the team and doing a little of everything in a 82-66 victory against visiting BYU on Tuesday evening. He had 16 points, five rebounds, four assists and zero turnovers.

“Just to be able to handle that…he just did so many good things,” head coach Porter Moser said. “Obviously him and Javian made the three throws down the stretch. But they both made really nice mid-range shots on that drop coverage. They each made big 3’s. I thought both those two – it was very similar to Providence when they were in that drop coverage. I thought those two guys did a great job.”

It was tied 34-34 at halftime, and you could feel the nervous energy. Because it was so tight, it felt like as must-win of a game as possible.

The Sooners (17-6, 5-5) responded in the second half, especially at the free throw line. Those things tend to take care of themselves, and OU was incredibly efficient from the line. Javian McCollum got the job done there to end up with 20 points.

“Absolutely. Just learned something about both of them,” Moser said. “Just kept on telling them both to shoot, and it’s going to fall. I love it. We took 26 3’s. We took as many 3’s as they did, and we talked about it. We talked about playing at a faster pace. We had a great—Los to Javian with a long, we call is a Celtic pass, for a layup in a key moment in the last six or so minutes.”

It is the biggest win of the season. Not just because it’s the latest one, but by the NET rankings. BYU came in No. 7. This win will carry into March. Huge opportunity, got it done.

Game 23 Takeaways

*That, my friends, was a battle between BYU’s Fousseyni Traore and the OU big combo of Sam Godwin and John Hugley. It went back and forth. No room for the weak in that showdown.

Traore dominated the first half, but Godwin asserted himself in the second half. And Hugley gave some quality minutes throughout. Godwin finished with five points and eight rebounds. Hugley had eight points and three rebounds.

*Head coach Porter Moser did not want OU to get into a three-point shooting contest. But it sort of happened. The Sooners took 17 threes in the first half and wound up with 26 attempts.

OU made nine of them from seven different players. Uzan and McCollum were the lone Sooners to hit more than one from beyond the arc.

BYU made eight but needed 26 attempts. And that was four off its average of 12 connects per contest.

“Well, I think our guys had such a respect for them as shooters,” Moser said. “I think they were trying to be underneath them. But we got lost a couple of times in transition. One to start the second second half; one in the corner right in front of their bench. But they’re so hard to guard. They run excellent stuff. They space you. They’ve got an elite point guard. They got a power center that can score….

*Jalon Moore was shutout in the first half but bounced back with 11 pts in the second half. He also added six rebounds.

Up next

Welcome to Bedlam. Confidence is high once again, and here comes Oklahoma State. Moser is 1-4 vs. OSU in his two seasons, including 0-3 last year. The Cowboys have struggled but fight hard. Houston took care of OSU pretty easily Tuesday. OSU has won its last two conference home games. Round 1 is set for 6 p.m. Saturday at the Lloyd Noble Center.

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