The Sooners never trailed on Monday as they opened on a 15-3 run behind a trio of Buddy Hield three-pointers and another by Isaiah Cousins. Villanova eventually tied the game at 26 with less than three minutes remaining in the first half, but Oklahoma closed with a 6-0 run to take a 32-26 lead into the break and never looked back.
Cousins dominated for Oklahoma in the win, finishing with 19 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds. He was 7-of-14 from the field, a perfect 4-of-4 from three-point range, and committed just two turnovers in 35 minutes of action.
As a dynamic ballhandler, Cousins gave Villanova guards problems throughout the game by getting into the lane or pushing in transition. He has a nice crossover with an extra gear when he chooses to push the tempo. Cousins has also continued to be a knock-down three-point shooter this season, shooting 53.8% (14-of-26) from deep this year after shooting 45.0% from distance as a junior.
The key for Cousins will be continuing to demonstrate his ability to get others involved. His 10 assists set a career-high but he’s eclipsed the five-assist mark just one other time this season. Widely considered a shooting guard throughout his career, Cousins showed potential to be a point guard at the next level on Monday.
Hield, the deadeye shooter for Oklahoma, added 18 points while shooting 6-of-17 from the field and 4-of-9 from deep. He made his biggest impact as a catch-and-shoot sniper and even flashed some athleticism with a put-back slam.
The 6-foot-4 Hield is one of the top catch-and-shoot threats in the country, with a quick and confident release. He’s shooting 48.6% (17-of-35) from behind the arc this year, and that’s with defenses keying in on his shooting ability.
Hield has struggled finishing around the basket this season, but has shown some potential in the pick-and-roll. He can handle the ball and hit shots off the dribble, but will likely be a shooting specialist at the next level.
Ryan Arcidiacono, Josh Hart, and Phil Booth each added 10 points for Villanova, but the Wildcats shot just 31.7% from the field and 4-of-32 from three-point range. Senior center Daniel Ochefu had a nice outing with eight points and 10 rebounds on 4-of-8 shooting, but Villanova’s shooting woes from deep kept them from remaining competitive.
Oklahoma picked up a major non-conference win and won’t face another ranked opponent until the Sooners begin conference play against Iowa State in January. Villanova will try to rebound against La Salle on Sunday before facing No. 10 Virginia squad in another important non-conference matchup.
This article was written by Cameron Schott, a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball. You can subscribe to our RSS feed from the upper right corner of our home page, follow us on Facebook, or on twitter.
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