Special to The Sun
It’s always good when Oklahoma beats Texas in anything and Saturday night’s 101-95 victory by Oklahoma over Texas in the annual Faith 7 Basketball Bowl at Oklahoma Baptist University's Noble Complex was a real cause for celebration.
But the happiest person in the gym might have been Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall. You might remember that Marshall and his band of opportunistic Shockers shocked the basketball world and several NCAA experts with their improbable run to the much coveted Final 4 in April.
But Marshall, one of the clinic speakers during the annual Oklahoma Basketball Coaches Association annual festival, didn't want to talk about the Shockers’ monumental achievements of the spring. His big grin and jovial nature could easily have been a glimpse into the Wichita State future.
And why not? Ringleader of the Oklahoma triumph over Texas was 6-8, 270-pound man-child from Edmond Memorial Shaquille Morris, who not only scored 20 points, grabbed nine rebounds, blocked five shots and altered several others, but also picked up the MVP trophy for his efforts.
The Shockers' roster last season contained two true centers, 7-0 Ehimen Orukpe and 6-9 Kadeem Colby. Both have used up their eligibility. Marshall hinted strongly that Morris would see playing time immediately.
“He’s very mature and has excellent basketball instincts,” Marshall replied. "You saw him out there. He's a man among boys at this level. He'll get a chance to play with the big boys.”
While Morris’ more heralded teammates, Stephen Clark of Douglass who is going to Oklahoma State, and Edmond Memorial teammate Jordan Woodard, who will be playing for the Oklahoma Sooners, got much of the pre-game attention, it was Morris and 6-11 John Moon of Crescent who were the keys to the Oklahoma victory.
Morris and Moon completely shut down the Texas inside game forcing the ball outside for jump shots and 3-pointers. Moon, who is headed to Oklahoma Christian, added 16 points while swatting away four Texas shots and pulling down six rebounds.
Woodard, who led the Bulldogs to state Class 6A championships his sophomore and senior seasons and the state runner-up trophy his junior year, tossed in 10 points and had five assists, including a pair of classic alley-oops to Morris.
Former Carl Albert standout Carlbe Ervin, who transferred to Edmond North for his senior campaign, also had 10 points for the winners.
In the OBCA All-State games prior to the Faith 7 Bowl, the smaller schools prevailed as the Class B All-Stars defeated Class A, 83-72, and the Class 2A boys defeated the 3A group, 86-75.
In the third game, Classes 4A, 5A and 6A were combined and divided into two squads with the third member of the Memorial championship squad, guard Aaron Young, on the grey squad that lost, 80-68, to the Reds. Young, the 6-1 defensive specialist, started for his team, played an excellent floor game and scored nine points.