Special to The Sun
A seven-minute scoring drought midway through the first half put Central Oklahoma in a big hole and the Bronchos couldn’t recover in falling to Oklahoma 94-66 in a Wednesday night exhibition at McCasland Fieldhouse.
UCO trailed just 15-14 with 11:38 left in the first half after two Spencer Smith free throws, but the Bronchos wouldn’t score again until the 5:46 mark — missing four field goals, two free throws and committing five turnovers — as the Sooners scored 18 unanswered points to open up a 33-16 lead.
OU went on to take a 46-27 cushion into the halftime locker-room and the Bronchos got no closer than 18 in the final 20 minutes.
It was the first of two straight exhibition games for UCO, which goes to Oklahoma City Thursday night for a 7 p.m. contest. The Bronchos open the season for real next Thursday, hosting Southwestern Christian.
Christian Huffman and freshmen Cal Andrews led a balanced UCO attack with 11 points apiece, while Josh Gibbs and Smith added 10 each. Gibbs also contributed seven rebounds and three steals.
The Bronchos fell behind 5-0 to open the game and were down 14-6 after just four minutes. Nic Combs hit two free throws before Huffman made a layup and Jamell Cormier a short jumper in a 6-0 run that got UCO with 14-12 and it was a 15-14 OU lead after Smith’s two foul shots.
But the Bronchos went cold after that and the Sooners took advantage to open up their 19-point halftime lead.
UCO tried to stay close and was within 18 at 58-40 following an Andrews trey at the 15:15 mark, but OU scored the next five points and stayed safely in front the rest of the way.
Central shot just 35.8 percent from the field for the game, including 22.2 percent (4-of-18) from beyond the arc, and made only 14-of-24 (58.3 percent) of its free throws.
Cowgirls outmatch UCO women
STILLWATER — Central Oklahoma was no match for Oklahoma State Wednesday night at Gallagher-Iba Arena in its final exhibition game of the preseason.
The Bronchos fell behind 12-0 in the first four minutes and shot just 27.1 percent from the field in dropping a 118-43 decision to the powerful Cowgirls, who returned all five starters from last year’s 22-12 team and are ranked No. 23 in Division I.
OSU shot a sizzling 64.9 percent from the field and the taller, more physical Cowgirls held a huge 51-16 rebounding advantage while also forcing UCO into 25 turnovers.
“They’ve got a great team and we just couldn’t match up with them,” UCO coach Guy Hardaker said. “I was disappointed we didn’t play better than we did, but they obviously had a lot to do with that.
“Hopefully we’ve learned some things from these exhibition games and we’ll be ready to go when the games start to count this weekend.”
The Bronchos, who beat Oklahoma Baptist in their exhibition opener before losing to Wichita State and OSU, goes to San Antonio, Texas this weekend for the St. Mary’s Classic. UCO opens against Minnesota-Duluth Saturday and then plays Cameron Sunday.
Freshman McKenzie Solberg led UCO with 11 points, while Courtney Harper had eight of her 10 in the first half. Jill Bryan made three 3-pointers in the final four minutes to add nine points.
Toni Young hit 13-of-17 shots in scoring 26 points while adding 11 rebounds, four blocked shots and four steals to pace the Cowgirls.
UCO had five turnovers and missed its first three shots to trail 12-0 barely four minutes into the contest before Harper ended the drought with a pair of free throws and she added back-to-back 3-pointers a few minutes later.
The Bronchos were within 13 (29-16) with 9:08 left in the half after McKenzie drained a 10-foot baseline jumper, but OSU ended the half with a 23-6 run to go up 52-22 at the break and UCO could get no closer.