NORMAN, Okla. (AP) Rivaldo Soares had 13 points and No. 11 Oklahoma overcame a sluggish start to roll past Green Bay 81-47 on Saturday night in the Sooners’ final game before a showdown against No. 9 North Carolina.

Otega Oweh added 12 points and seven steals, the most by an Oklahoma player in a game since December 1999. John Hugley IV scored 11 for the Sooners (10-0), off to their best start since opening 12-0 during the 2015-16 season - when they reached the Final Four behind Buddy Hield.

Oklahoma never trailed Green Bay (5-7) but struggled to pull away at first. The Sooners hadn’t yet made a 3-pointer and led only 21-20 when coach Porter Moser called a timeout with 5:38 left in the opening half. They responded with a 15-0 run, highlighted by a breakaway reverse dunk from Oweh, and led 36-20 at halftime.

“It was, ‘We’ve got to do this these the next four minutes.’ That’s what I saw, a maturity," Moser said. “We told them, ‘It’s got to start with our energy. Let’s get the transition going.’ We amped up our press a little bit more. We thought we could get our athleticism into the game.”

The Phoenix pulled to 40-27 with 16:30 left before another big run by the Sooners, a 28-3 spurt that made it 68-30 with 7:20 left and ended all doubt. Jalon Moore had two dunks and Sam Godwin had another during the run, three of the seven dunks for Oklahoma, which shot 51.8% (28 of 54) from the field. That offset the Sooners’ poor 3-point performance - they finished 5 of 17 behind the arc after starting 1 for 10.

“I think we really guarded,” Moser said. “That’s what we’ve got to do. That’s what winning teams do. When you’re stagnant, or you’re missing good shots, whatever you’re doing offensively, you can’t let it affect you on the defensive end. I thought we played hard every possession.”

Javian McCollum had nine points and eight assists for Oklahoma. David Douglas Jr. led Green Bay with 13 points, while Noah Reynolds and Clarence Cummings III scored eight apiece. The Phoenix committed 20 turnovers.

“I wanted to see a little bit of growth,” Green Bay coach Sundance Wicks said. “I’ll show you the growth that we had. We weren’t in the Iowa State game ever (an 85-44 loss on Nov. 6). Tonight, we’re down 21-20 in the first half. Our guys showed spirit and they showed some fight and they showed some grit. We just had a lot of self-inflicted wounds.”


Green Bay: It’s about gaining experience for the Phoenix, who are rebuilding with 12 newcomers in their first season under Wicks and were picked last in the Horizon League preseason poll. The game at Oklahoma gave them another chance to learn about facing a major-conference opponent on the road, as they lost earlier this season at Iowa State. No more such foes await Green Bay during the regular season.

“Oklahoma plays very complementary basketball," Wicks said. "Their defense complements their offense and their offense complements their defense. That’s a team that you’re going to see play deep into March. They can make a really impressive run if they stay together and do the right things.”

Oklahoma: After a week off for finals, the Sooners wanted a tune-up to keep them sharp before heading into their biggest game of the season to date, against North Carolina in Charlotte on Wednesday. Although technically a neutral-site game, the crowd figures to be pro-North Carolina and the Tar Heels will be mad after a tough loss to No. 14 Kentucky on Saturday. That defeat might well open up a spot in the top 10 for Oklahoma.


Green Bay: Will host NCAA Division III Milwaukee School of Engineering on Thursday.

Oklahoma: Will face North Carolina on Wednesday in Charlotte.


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