GAME NOTES: Still flying under the national radar, the Oklahoma Sooners will play their final non-conference game of the season on Monday as they host the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at the Lloyd Noble Center.
The Bulldogs have also put forth a solid effort this season and are boasting a 10-3 overall record after taking down ULM, 83-61, the last time out. The win was the fourth in the last five games for Louisiana Tech, which hosts Longwood before playing its Conference USA opener against Florida Atlantic.
Other than an 87-67 loss on Nov. 23 to No. 5 Michigan State, Oklahoma has done nothing but win. The Sooners topped Texas A&M on Dec. 21 for their seventh straight victory, and 11th of the season overall. They have yet to break into the national rankings, although they lead non-ranked teams with 65 votes for the AP Top-25. Oklahoma visits rival Texas in its first Big 12 test on Saturday.
Oklahoma has won all eight previous meetings with Louisiana Tech, including a 71-67 victory in the last matchup back in 2001.
A 17-3 run pushed the Bulldogs out ahead early against ULM. They would never look back, coasting to victory by shooting 57.1 percent from the floor, including a 9-of-18 showing from beyond the arc. Alex Hamilton was the top performer in the game, as he tallied 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
Keeping things moving offensively is the calling card for LaTech. The Bulldogs are scoring a hefty 81.8 ppg and assisting on 15.5 field goals per game. They have done so efficiently, netting 47.4 percent from the floor. While they have no trouble scoring, their opponents have not been so lucky, managing just 66.4 ppg on 39.7 percent field goal efficiency. Raheem Appleby (16.1 ppg) does the heavy lifting in terms of scoring, although he has been outside of double figures in two of the last three games. Hamilton (13.8 ppg) and Chris Anderson (10.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg) are also netting double figures for the Bulldogs, while Kenneth Smith (6.2 ppg, 6.1 apg) has proven to be an adept distributor.
Jordan Woodard scored 20 points as the only player with more than 10 points in the entire game during Oklahoma's win over Texas A&M. The Sooners limited the Aggies to just 26.9 percent shooting to make up for a game-high 22 turnovers.
Oklahoma is certainly producing at a level that would warrant a national ranking. The Sooners are 11th in country in scoring (85.3 ppg), while averaging 15.4 apg and shooting 47.5 percent from the floor. Five different players are averaging in double figures for the squad, led by Cameron Clark (17.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg). Clark had only six points on 2-of-7 shooting against Texas A&M. Buddy Hield (16.3 ppg) is another player that often posts strong numbers in terms of points, but was limited to only six as well against the Aggies, making good on a mere 3-of-10 attempts from the field. Woodard (12.2 ppg, 5.3 apg), Isaiah Cousins (10.7 ppg) and Ryan Spangler (10.2 ppg, 9.2 rpg) are all in the mix as well.
There is certainly going to be a challenge for Oklahoma on Monday against a LaTech team that can score as well as any team in the country. However, the Sooners fall into that camp as well. Expect Oklahoma to keep rolling.
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