OU basketball: Three takeaways from Sooners' 82-46 win over TCU
NORMAN — De’Vion Harmon was wide open under the basket.
Late in Saturday night’s eventual 82-46 win over TCU at Lloyd Noble Center, Harmon was camped out under the basket as teammate Umoja Gibson came barrelling down the court after a steal.
Gibson’s layup missed but Harmon cleaned up, going up with one hand and effortlessly flipping it into the basket.
It was that kind of night for Harmon, who led the Sooners with 22 points.
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The margin of victory was OU's largest in Big 12 play since a 81-36 win over Texas Tech on Jan. 28, 2015.
These Sooners certainly weren't thinking that far back, but instead to their last home game, Jan. 2 against West Virginia, where OU let an 18-point halftime lead slip away before ultimately winning.
OU didn't have that big of a lead at half, up by 12, but the outcome was never in doubt in the second half as the Sooners ripped off a 16-2 run to turn it into a blowout.
"The way we closed out the game was good but we know we can be so much better," Harmon said.
Here are three takeaways from the win:
These aren’t Roadrunners
Before Tuesday night, Harmon hadn’t scored more than 17 points in a Big 12 game.
In fact, his two highest scoring games as a Sooner had come against UTSA — against which he’d averaged 22.5 points in two meetings. In his other 39 career games, Harmon had averaged 7.4 points per game.
But against the Horned Frogs, Harmon hit a career-high four 3-pointers and scored in a variety of other ways.
He finished 9 of 16 from the floor and 4 of 7 from behind the 3-point line.
Harmon was forced to play a new spot after Elijah Harkless got into foul trouble early, necessitating Harmon's move to the forward spot normally occupied by Brady Manek.
"De'Vion was great," Sooners coach Lon Kruger said. "I thought he handled every role tonight in a great way. He played the wing, power forward spot, played the point. Made great plays from all three positions all night long."
Defensive intensity remains high
After the Sooners’ loss at Kansas on Saturday, there was little show of concern from Kruger or his players.
That’s primarily because of the defensive intensity OU flashed in that game.
The confidence was rewarded against the Horned Frogs, who had struggled offensively in back-to-back losses to Kansas and Baylor.
The Sooners helped keep Baylor in that offensive funk, especially on the perimeter.
TCU missed its first 10 3-pointers and finished shooting just 21.1% from behind the 3-point line and 34.6% from the floor.
Alondes Williams said the second consecutive strong defensive performance delighted assistant coach Jim Molinari.
"I know he's real happy because that's all he talks about, screams (about)," Williams said. "I'm surprised he didn't go hoarse with how much yelling he does."
Williams had two of the Sooners' eight steals while Gibson led OU with three.
The Horned Frogs also struggled from the free-throw line throughout, going just 6 of 17 from the stripe.
Ball movement, protection
Harmon marveled after the game when told of OU's assist total.
The Sooners were one off a season high with 20 assists.
"We do that we're going to win a lot of games," Harmon said. "I didn't know we had 20 team assists.
"Every since I've been playing AAU, we always said if we can get at least 20 team assists, then you're up there and you're usually winning by a lot. That's great for us."
They had 21 in the season opener against UTSA.
Tuesday, Austin Reaves had six assists and Harmon finished with four.
The Sooners also tied a season-low with just five turnovers, and the Horned Frogs scored just two points off those giveaways.
OU forced 16 TCU turnovers and turned them into 25 points.
Without Brady Manek and Jalen Hill for the second consecutive game, Kruger had to go with a small lineup once again and early foul trouble from Elijah Harkless necessitated that Harmon spend some time at “forward” in that small lineup.