Sherfield scores 30 points as Oklahoma beats No. 2 Alabama 93-69
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — With Oklahoma poised to join the Southeastern Conference in 2025, Sooners fans used the SEC/Big 12 Challenge to give Alabama a dose of the energy they plan to bring to the league.
After taunting second-ranked Crimson Tide with chants of “SEC” and “overrated” in the second half, fans stormed the court — a rare occurrence in Oklahoma. Grant Sherfield scored a season-high 30 points as the Sooners beat Alabama 93-69 on Saturday.
It was the kind of moment Oklahoma sophomore coach Porter Moser envisioned when he left Chicago’s Loyola to take over the Sooners.
“I thought the crowd was amazing,” he said. “I sat there when the crowd rushed to the floor – you know, my younger self could have run away in the middle of it – and I just sat there and just said, ‘ It’s a vision. And like, that kind of excitement with the student body – I thought they were awesome. They were there early. Best crowd I’ve had since I’ve been here.
Jalen Hill added a career-high 26 points on 9-for-11 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds. He was also assigned guard for Alabama freshman Brandon Miller, who averaged 19.5 points but finished with 11 on 4-for-14 shooting.
Hill said he wanted to show what it was all about.
“I feel like I have something to prove,” the eldest said. “He’s going to be a top-five pick at the end of the day, and I just wanted to prove to everyone — the scouts, the country — that I can hang with him.”
Moser said it was a typical defensive performance for Hill.
“What he does night and night, guys he guards — he guards lottery picks and he’s resilient,” Moser said. “He played a lot of minutes. And then for him to have that defensive effort and also have 26 points. I mean, what a performance from Jalen.
Tanner Groves had 14 points and 12 rebounds for Oklahoma (12-9), which shot 58 percent from the field and posted a season-high point total. It was Oklahoma’s first win against a top-two ranked team in the AP since the 2002 Big 12 tournament and its biggest ever margin of victory against a top-five team in the AP. PA.
The Sooners had lost three straight, but there had been signs of progress. They suffered three losses to the top 25 teams by four points or less in January.
Alabama coach Nate Oats said the loss could be costly when it comes to NCAA tournament standings.
“It has no effect on the SEC ranking, which is the only good thing to come out of it,” he said. “I hope we recover from a non-conference loss, but, you know, it’s not good. We needed the SEC to succeed in this Big 12 challenge. We obviously didn’t do our job. on it.
The Crimson Tide (18-3) had won nine straight, but Oats said the team didn’t play well. Rylan Griffen, who led Alabama with 15 points, said Oats warned the team about their lackluster play.
“We didn’t really listen,” Griffen said. “We didn’t come out ready to fight. … You could kind of sense that we thought we were kind of untouchable.
Oklahoma was leading 50-33 at halftime and it didn’t look like a fluke. Sherfield scored 18 points before the break and helped the Sooners shoot 68% from the field in the first 20 minutes. Hill added 13 points on a 5-on-5 shot.
The half was punctuated by Hill scoring on a spinning move in the dying seconds and Miller being given a technical foul.
Alabama cut their deficit to 11 in the second half, but Hill’s dunk on a fast break cut Oklahoma’s lead to 64-46 and revived the crowd. Sherfield’s 3-point crossover and fadeaway gave the Sooners a 78-53 lead.
Alabama: The young Crimson Tide was chosen by a team of veterans. The Crimson Tide lacked energy and never really challenged the Sooners. They made 6 of 22 3-pointers and had just six assists.
Oklahoma: Sherfield was in crisis, having made 10 of 34 field goals during Oklahoma’s three-game losing streak. He found his shot and found teammates, scoring 11 of 20 field goals and finishing with six assists to help create balance for the Sooners.
Alabama: Hosts Vanderbilt on Tuesday.
Oklahoma: Hosts Oklahoma State on Wednesday.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: twitter.com/CliffBruntAP
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