Woodard leads No. 6 Oklahoma past Central Arkansas 111-68
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) Jordan Woodard hadn’t shot like this since his AAU days.
The junior point guard made six straight 3-pointers during a 3:30 stretch early in the second half to help No. 6 Oklahoma beat Central Arkansas 111-68 on Thursday night.
Woodard, who matched his career-high with 24 points, said the basket looked huge. Within his run, he made 3s at the 15:52, 15:35 and 15:12 marks.
“My teammates found me in a lot of open spots, drive-and-kick situations, things we work on every day,” he said. “I was just trying to knock down shots.”
Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger, who has been in the business for nearly 40 years, said it’s rare that a player gets it going like that.
“Doesn’t happen very often, you get a streak like that in a short amount of time,” he said. “It didn’t take long.”
Woodard had never even attempted more than five 3s in a game. Oklahoma made 11 of their 13 3-pointers in the second half.
Buddy Hield scored 19 points, Isaiah Cousins had 16 and a career-high 11 rebounds and Khadeem Lattin added a career-high 12 points for the Sooners (5-0), who posted their highest point total since 1996.
Oklahoma held the Bears to 38 percent shooting.
Jordan Howard scored 16 points, Derreck Brooks had 13 and Jake Zuilhof added 11 for Central Arkansas (1-6), which lost its third straight.
Oklahoma got off to a slow start, and Central Arkansas led 7-6. The Sooners got it going after that, though. A fast break layup by Hield pushed Oklahoma’s lead to 30-13, and the Sooners led 54-24 at halftime.
Hield and Cousins both scored 11 points in the first half. Lattin scored 10 points in the first half, surpassing his previous career-high of eight. Oklahoma outrebounded the Bears 28-14 in the first half and outscored them 20-2 at the free throw line.
The 54 points were the most Oklahoma scored in a half since getting 59 in the first half against Arkansas-Little Rock on Nov. 29, 2013.
Woodard’s barrage put the game further out of reach. The last of his six 3s gave Oklahoma an 80-34 lead.
“They (his teammates) called his number a couple times after he made three or four, and that was good to see, and Jordan responded,” Kruger said.
ON THE RISE
Oklahoma freshman guard Christian James scored a season-best 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting in just 13 minutes.
Woodard had never made more than three 3-pointers in a game and had made five in the first four games this season before going 6-for-7 against the Bears. ... Woodard had four steals. ... Oklahoma shot 59 percent from the field in the second half. ... The Sooners made 6 of 11 free throws in the second half. ... Oklahoma’s Akolda Manyang had four blocks in 15 minutes. He has 10 blocks in 48 minutes this season. ... Central Arkansas made just 15 of 29 free throws.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
Woodard: “They told me to shoot it, so I’ve got to shoot it, and I’ve got to make it.”
Central Arkansas: Coach Russ Pennell is the school’s all-time assist leader with 341 from 1982-84. ... Pennell was the interim coach of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury in 2013, and he led the team featuring Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner to the Western Conference Finals. He took the job at Central Arkansas last season and went 2-27.
Oklahoma: Ryan Spangler got off to a hot start for the third straight game, scoring six points in the first 6:05 to help the Sooners take a 15-10 lead. He had 11 points in the first 6:39 two games ago against Incarnate Word, then scored 10 points in the first 7:13 against Wisconsin.
Central Arkansas plays at Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Oklahoma plays No. 8 Villanova on Monday at Pearl Harbor.
Follow Cliff Brunt (at)CliffBruntAP.