Norman, OK – Sports fans are familiar with the Bedlam football game each year here in Oklahoma, but even during basketball season, these two schools and fan bases have animosity towards one another. The environment in Norman, OK was electric as the 23rd ranked Sooners hosted their in-state rivals from Stillwater.
Thus far this season, Oklahoma’s defense has held opponents under 38 percent field-goal shooting. They needed to do so once again, with their own offense sputtering for most of the afternoon. Their offense did just enough to come away with a 74-64 victory.
At the under-8 timeout in the first half, the Sooners led 16-15 even though they were shooting field goals at a 17 percent clip and were only 11 percent from three. Oklahoma State came out slow as well, largely in part to Lindy Waters III picking up three personal fouls in the first six minutes. A huge part of the Cowboy offense, he did not see the court again until the second half. The teams were tied at 25 until Oklahoma surged late and owned a 38-32 halftime lead.
Oklahoma stretched their lead to 51-42, and then Waters III checked in. The 6-6 junior came in and provided immediate impact. In consecutive possessions he tallied an assist, a made jump shot, contested a missed 3PT attempt and came up with a steal. Before you could check the Jumbotron again it was 51-50. Michael Weathers and Thomas Dziagwa led the charge. Dziagwa had 16 points on 4-of-8 shooting from deep, and was a huge spark off the bench during the second half. The Cowboys would fall short late, as Christian James and Brady Manek (15 points) were too strong in the final few minutes.
James played 38 minutes today, and was a massive part of the victory as he has been all season. He had 14 points, 11 rebounds, and two steals in the contest. The Houston, TX native is putting together a positive senior campaign, and has the ability to play at a professional level next year. At 6-4 and 210 pounds he can be physical as a guard both on offense and defense, which he pairs with good IQ and feel. He has a way of filling holes while rebounding and finds space on the floor to create catch-and-shoot opportunities for himself. His athleticism is average, but does the little things well that you look for in role players. He won’t be drafted in the 2019 NBA Draft, but would be a nice addition to a G-League roster.
The most intriguing player today was Oklahoma State’s Weathers, a 6-2 point guard, who is playing his first season in orange after transferring from Miami OH. In 2016 the Kansas native averaged 16.7 points, 4.8 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game. While he isn’t posting those same numbers this season, today he flashed why he may be able to again. He appears to be very long for his position which helps him on both ends. He was able to get to the rim on drives almost any time he wanted, but had trouble finishing. His length and quickness are plus, but his shooting and finishing are the question marks. So far this year he only shoots 29 percent from three, so if he wants to play at the next level this will need to change. Today he had 13 points, six rebounds, seven assists and one steal and was a bright spot for the Cowboys. Weathers is a player who should be monitored, just in case he figures out his jump shot and becomes a top flight combo guard.
Up next: No. 23-ranked Oklahoma travels to 11th-ranked Texas Tech while Oklahoma State will host Texas.