Javian McCollum Scores 20, No. 19 Oklahoma Beats Arkansas 79-70 In Crimson & Cardinal Classic

Javian McCollum had 20 points, five rebounds and four assists to lead undefeated No. 19 Oklahoma to a 79-70 victory over Arkansas in the third annual Crimson & Cardinal Classic on Saturday.

Saturday, December 9th 2023, 5:55 pm

By: Associated Press


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Javian McCollum had 20 points, five rebounds and four assists to lead undefeated No. 19 Oklahoma to a 79-70 victory over Arkansas in the third annual Crimson & Cardinal Classic on Saturday.

Otega Oweh scored 14 points, Rivaldo Sores added 13 points and seven rebounds and Milos Uzan finished with 11 points for Oklahoma (9-0), which won by nine-or-more points for the eighth time this season.

“He controls the tempo of every game, he’s the head of our snake offensively and he’s a great leader for us,” OU forward Sam Godwin, who had seven points and four rebounds, said of McCollum. “It’s just the work he puts in every day. It’s not really a surprise to any of the guys in the locker room.”

McCollum has averaged 18 points over the last four games and is excited that his team keeps climbing the polls and standings.

“We want to be the best, we want to beat the best,” McCollum said. “That’s what it takes to win a national championship, you want that target on your back, knowing that teams respect you at a high level, because we’re going out there competing at a high level every night.”

Khalif Battle led the Razorbacks (6-4) with 13 points. Jeremiah Davenport scored 12 points.

“The team right now is not playing with the same personality as our teams the past four years,” Arkansas coach Eric Musselman said. “We’ve got to get a lot better. I think we play three games in the next 20 days. Rotations, roles, all those things, there’s going to be some changes.”

Musselman was ejected from the game with 15:50 remaining after being called for two technical fouls for arguing with the officials. It was not clear why Musselman was complaining to the officials. The Razorbacks trailed 48-33 at the time.

After the game, Musselman wouldn’t comment about what happened or anything about the officials.

The Sooners limited Arkansas to 29.6% shooting during the first half (8 of 27), and Moser was happy with their defense. Overall for the game, the Razorbacks were right at 40%.

“We’re trying to play more up-tempo and score more points and get more possessions, but the biggest thing we’re saying is we don’t want to do it at the expense of our defense,” Sooners coach Porter Moser said. “And I thought the guys were playing hard on defense. I just think that’s been a key for us.”

The schools will become conference rivals in the SEC next year, so this was likely the last time they’ll play a neutral-site game in Tulsa. But, both sides enjoyed the experience in an arena that was pretty much split 50-50 with fans from both teams.

“It feels like an NCAA Regional,” Moser said. “Driving the bus here, you see everybody out in front, you see the bands, you see both teams, all the colors, you walk into the beautiful arena. I thought Tulsa’s done a great job with the event.”

BIG PICTURE

Oklahoma: After shooting just 31.8% from the floor in their last game, a 72-51 win over Providence on Tuesday, the Sooners connected for a season-high 56.1% (23 of 41), with nearly-identical halves of 56% (14 of 25) in the first and 56.3% (9 of 16) in the second.

Arkansas: After a strong start to the season that had them solidly in the top 20, the Razorbacks have struggled with a 3-4 record in their last seven outings. Arkansas was in the game until late in the first half, tying the game at 23 on Khalif Battle’s free throws with 4:26 left in the opening half. But OU closed the half on a 14-2 run to take a 37-25 lead into halftime. The Razorbacks scored the first six points of the second half to pull to within six, but Oklahoma reeled off a 15-2 run over the next 3:30 and Arkansas never got closer than nine the rest of the way.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

With a commanding performance against an SEC team that was recently in the Top 25, Oklahoma will likely move up a couple of spots, depending on the success of the teams just above them.

UP NEXT

Oklahoma: The Sooners have a week off before hosting Green Bay on Saturday.

Arkansas: The Razorbacks also get a week of rest before hosting Lipscomb on Saturday.

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Get poll alerts and updates on AP Top 25 basketball throughout the season. Sign up here.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball

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