OU basketball: 3 takeaways from Sooners' 105-66 rout of UTSA
NORMAN — OU’s men’s basketball team was finally able to open its season.
And the Sooners looked impressive.
OU routed Texas-San Antonio 105-66 on Thursday night in Lloyd Noble Center, getting a much-needed tuneup to open the season.
Here are three takeaways from the game
- Related to this story
- Article: Why Sooners' rout of UTSA was more important than the score: 'We gotta keep it going'
- Article: OU men's basketball: Sooners add Oral Roberts to non-conference schedule
- Video: OU Basketball: Preparing for UTSA
Manek or Bird?
Brady Manek is rocking the old-school Larry Bird look.
Long blonde hair. Mustache.
It’s pretty slick. And so is Manek’s jump shot.
Manek was on fire, making a career-best eight 3-pointers to finish with 29 points. He also grabbed five rebounds.
But it was his outside stroke that looked flawless.
Manek opened the second half with three straight 3s. And he kept going from there, no matter if a UTSA defender was in his face or not.
He finally checked out of the game with 7:01 remaining and the Sooners up 90-52.
But Manek wasn’t the only one hot from behind the arc for the Sooners.
OU made 17 of 34 3-pointers. Tulsa Booker T. Washington product Trey Phipps hit four in his college debut. De’Vion Harmon — who finished with 22 points — hit three. Umoja Gibson hit two.
Playing more valuable than just victory
A win is important. It’s well known that’s why you play the game.
But this Sooners victory was more important than the usual season opener against a mid-major opponent.
After an eight-day delay due to COVID-19 positive tests and contact tracing, OU needed to take the court before opening Big 12 play at TCU on Sunday.
Even if that meant they were short-handed.
OU was without sophomore forward Victor Iwuakor (as announced Tuesday), redshirt freshman center Rick Issanza and freshman guard Josh O’Garro. That left nine scholarship players, who all saw time on the floor.
Even the Sooners’ three walk-on players played the final 3:30.
It was overall a great night for Kruger, who entered with concerns about the Sooners’ conditioning considering the practice schedule was out of whack the past few weeks.
Kuath’s dunk show
Kur Kuath hesitated, almost like he was measuring up UTSA 6-foot-11 center Jacob Germany.
Then Kuath took off before jumping, extending his long arm and dunking all over Germany, a Kingston product.
Kuath used every bit of his 6-foot-10 frame for the dunk.
It was the second strong dunk by the big man on the night, the other coming on a fastbreak with a nice leading pass from Phipps in the first half.
Kuath finished with 10 points and three rebounds.