NORMAN — It was a 40-minute game, but it only took about three to layout how Oklahoma’s game against Tulsa was going to transpire on Saturday.
The Golden Hurricane couldn’t keep Sooner guard Jordan Woodard out of the paint and off the free-throw line. They turned in a methodical afternoon of watching Woodard penetrate and score, dish for an easy basket and force a foul.
It happened there were about 50 versions of that in the Sooners’ 101-91 victory over Tulsa at Lloyd Noble Center.
“I saw how they were defending me and really didn’t stop me too far in the front court,” Woodard said. “I took the chance to get into the paint. I found Spangler a couple times down low when they came up to defend me. Found Buddy one time. I figured if I could get into the paint, I could hit the shooters or get it to the shooters down low or get to the free-throw line.”
When it was all over, the Sooners’ freshman point guard had scored a career-high 24 points, largely on the strength of a 17-for-22 effort from the free-throw line, and dished out eight assists.
The Sooners (9-1) rode Woodard like a racehorse and Tulsa (3-7) didn’t really have an answer. The performance was no surprise to the Golden Hurricane.
The game was a battle of the Woodards. Jordan’s older brother, James, led Tulsa with 19 points.
The difference in the game was the free-throw discrepancy. The teams combined for 78 free-throw attempts. But Tulsa only took 30 of them. The Sooners were 34 of 48 and outscored the Golden Hurricane by 15 points there.
“I don’t know how many times I’ve been in a game where somebody shot 22, NBA included,” Tulsa coach Danny Manning said.
The Sooners needed the free-throw attempts because the were playing shorthanded. They knew going into Saturday it would be there first game without backup point guard Je’lon Hornbeak. Then forward Ryan Spangler suffered a calf injury in the early going and only played 12 minutes.