NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Kristian Doolittle scored 19 points and Austin Reaves added 18 as Oklahoma had an opportunity to test some late-game pressure situations as the Sooners fought to close out William & Mary 75-70 in the first round of the College Basketball Hall of Fame Classic Monday.
Doolittle and Reaves combined for nearly half of Oklahoma’s points and were pivotal down the stretch. Brady Manek finished with 10 points. All three players had key roles in the final minutes as the Sooners took the lead late to improve to 4-0.
Manek’s driving dunk off a pass from teammate De’Von Harmon gave the Sooners their first lead at 70-68 with 2:14 to play. Reaves then hit a short jumper to push the margin to 72-68 with 44 seconds before free throws ended the scoring for both teams.
“Every time you get in a late-game situation that is tight you want your team to step up and focus and make the plays,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “Hopefully today we will learn not just from the late-game situations but how to have a better start. We didn’t open with the energy that William & Mary did. We need to exceed and make them match us on our home court.”
The Tribe (4-1), led by Nathan Knight’s 30 points, kept the Sooners on their heels for much of the night. William & Mary led the from the opening tip and only were caught in the final minutes. Knight dominated inside, making 13-of-18 from the floor while pulling down eight rebounds. He got considerable support from Andy Van Vliet who finished with a double-double, 16 points and 13 rebounds. “We did a nice job of just going out there and playing,” William & Mary coach Dane Fischer said. “We were getting the shots we wanted early and forcing them to take the shots they didn’t. I thought our guys had a great start with that and kept an even keel all the way through.”
Oklahoma misfired on its first 10 3-point attempts. Manek’s triple with 17:21 remaining in the second half was the Sooners first of the game. OU ended the game making 3-of-18 (16.7%) from long distance.
William & Mary scored the opening basket on a short jumper by Van Vliet and stayed in front until the Sooners took the lead at 70-68.
Knight scored the Tribe’s only three baskets in the final six minutes. He finished with 13 field goals, nearly half of his team’s total. BUZZER BEATER
Doolittle’s drive and dunk off a pass from Austin Reaves just before the halftime buzzer sent the Sooners into the locker room trailing 39-37. UP NEXT
William & Mary plays at Stanford on Thursday.
Oklahoma hosts Maryland-Eastern Shore on Thursday.