Oklahoma Sooners head coach Kruger gestures toward players while playing against San Diego State Aztecs during NCAA basketball game in Philadelphia

No. 23 Oklahoma uses high-powered offense to run past No. 8 Oklahoma State

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Oklahoma is 12th in the nation in scoring at 83.8 points per game and the Sooners usually shoot the ball around 15 seconds into the shot clocks on many of their offensive possessions.

The Sooners like to push the tempo and find good, quick shots and when those shots are falling like they were on Monday against in-state rival Oklahoma State, No. 23 Oklahoma is a tough team to beat.

Thanks to an aggressive offensive attack that kept the Cowboys in foul trouble for much of the game, Oklahoma was able to hold on for the 88-76 win over No. 8 Oklahoma State on Monday night in a Big 12 home win for the Sooners.

With Marcus Smart and LeBryan Nash saddled with first-half foul trouble, Oklahoma took advantage and led for the entire game after taking an 12-10 lead on a Ryan Spangler three-point play with 14:21 left in the first half.

Spangler had his way with the depleted Cowboy frontline, scoring 15 points and grabbing 17 rebounds in an impressive Monday night effort in which Oklahoma State, at times, resorted to four-guard lineups because of foul problems.

Oklahoma got the benefit of the doubt on some calls, but their aggression and attacking mentality on offense kept Oklahoma State on its heels the entire game.

Oklahoma freshman point guard Jordan Woodard (18 points, 9-for-13 free throws) is an impressive floor leader that leads the Big 12 in free throws made per game and his steady presence with the ball in his hands is a big key for the Sooners as the season wears on.

When you add in scoring from players like Buddy Hield and Cameron Clark and Oklahoma is a very potent offense that can run with any team in the country.

It remains to be seen if Oklahoma can get enough stops to win deep into March, but this is a big Bedlam win over a top-10 team and Oklahoma has to be feeling good about its tournament resume heading towards February.

UNLV’s Stephen Zimmerman out with a knee injury

UNLV forward Stephen Zimmerman Jr. shoots against San Diego State during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
(L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
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The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.

The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.

They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.

That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.

So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.

Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:

VIDEO: Buddy Hield is ‘all money’ on game-winning three vs. No. 24 Texas

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) takes a shot over Oklahoma State forward Chris Oliver during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
(AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
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With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.

At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes

“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:

“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”

“It’s all money.”

Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.

Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .

Want to talk about coaching luxuries?

Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.