OU men's basketball: Alondes Williams 'a game changer' for Sooners in 63-62 vs. Mississippi State
The game was tied when Kristian Doolittle found Alondes Williams for a wide open 3-point shot early in the second half.
Williams made the shot and didn’t stop there. On Mississippi State’s ensuing possession, Williams got a quick steal from Nick Weatherspoon. Williams drove the ball to the other end of the court, drew his arm back and slammed in a dunk. As he turned back towards his teammates, a big smile came across his face as he yelled “let’s go.”
In just 20 seconds, Williams gave the Sooners a five-point swing.
“I think that was a game changer for us,” junior forward Brady Manek said. “I think we were kind of down, we hadn't scored in the half. And they cut it back to a tie game and that was a big play and kind of brought the spirit up of the team.”
In a game that was important for the Sooners’ nonconference resume, Oklahoma held on for a 63-62 win over Mississippi State on Saturday in the Big 12/SEC Challenge at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
OU (13-6, 3-3 Big 12) led by as many as 15 points in the first half, but as the Bulldogs started to surge, the Sooners’ energy began to deflate.
There were several critical factors for Oklahoma in the game — Manek’s game-leading performance, Mississippi State’s Reggie Perry getting in foul trouble early — but nothing was as key as the play of Williams and the energy he brought to the game.
“He was terrific today,” Kruger said. “Showing us a little bit now about what he can do for us going forward. Very happy for him and excited about what he can do for the club.”
A starter earlier in the season, Williams was energetic off the bench on Saturday. He has been up and down so far this season, but has started to find his rhythm in the last two games.
As senior forward Kristian Doolittle and redshirt junior guard Austin Reaves go through a slump, it is important for other players to step up, and that is what Williams did against Mississippi State (12-7, 3-3 SEC).
“The energy is really good to bring in on the court definitely as a bench player,” Williams said.
OU and Mississippi State were going back and forth with under 11 minutes left in the game when Williams got hot again.
The 6-foot-5 guard hit a jump shot from the elbow in one possession and followed it with a made 3-point shot from the corner on the next possession. That 3-pointer brought Williams to 13 points on the day, a career high for the guard.
The only Sooner to out-score Williams was Manek, who had a game-high 18 points. Manek was the most consistent Sooner Saturday, but it was Williams who gave OU the boosts it needed at the right moments.
“I thought that their kid, No. 15, gave them a huge lift today off the bench,” MSU coach Ben Howland said of Williams. “He really really played well, the junior college transfer.”
Williams was a 39% 3-point shooter over two seasons at Triton College. Now, he’s started to show what he can do from behind the 3-point arc at Oklahoma. He was 2-of-2 from 3-point range Monday against Baylor and 3-of-4 on Saturday against Mississippi State.
“He’s a good 3-point shooter,” Howland said. “He took a bunch of them before he got here… He had a couple of good looks. Give him credit.”
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