The Sooners continued their hot start to the 2018-19 season, downing the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 85-80 Tuesday evening in the Jimmy V Classic in New York City. They moved to 7-1 with the victory.
Guard Christian James continued his torrid start, mounting his first career double-double. The senior from Houston, Texas, poured in 25 points to go along with 10 rebounds. He hit 10-of-19 shots, including a trio of triples, and he also dished out three assists in 36 minutes.
James wasn’t alone in double figures. Forward Brady Manek dropped in five 3’s, hitting his first five from beyond the arc, and scored 17 points, while guard Aaron Calixte and forward Matt Freeman added 12 and 11, respectively.
The Sooners shot a scorching 51.7 percent from 3-point range, knocking down 15-of-29 attempts. Manek and Freeman together combined for more than half of those.
Overall, OU hit 47.1 percent from the field, while, Notre Dame shot 41.9 percent. With their hot shooting from long range, the Sooners were able to overcome a 46-26 points in the paint disparity. They narrowly out-rebounded the Irish 43-42, dishing out 19 assists to 13 for the Irish.
OU jumped out to an early eight-point lead in the first eight minutes, leading it 22-14 at Manek’s triple at the 11:26 mark of the first half. Notre Dame countered with a 13-4 run to take its first lead of the game, before OU finished the first half strong and led it 43-36 at the break.
The Sooners built a double-digit lead in the opening minutes of the second half, but again the Irish fought back. A 14-2 run saw the Irish retake the lead at 50-49. Guard Miles Reynolds downed a trey, however, and the Sooners never trailed again over the final 13-plus minutes.
With OU leading by only one, James crossed over and hit a huge jumper just outside the free throw line with 2:06 remaining, then he connected on a 3-pointer with 1:33 left that extended the margin to five. His two free throws with 18 ticks to go sealed it.
The Sooners (7-1) return to action at 11 a.m. CT Saturday against Wichita State at Chesapeake Arena in Oklahoma City.