With its 68-61 win in the opening round of the Old Spice Classic, Oklahoma improved to 3-0 on the season for the third straight season and for the fifth time in the last six years.
Making its first appearance in the Old Spice Classic, OU improved to 3-1 all-time vs. UTEP. Tonight's meeting was the first between the teams outside of Oklahoma (two in Norman and one in Oklahoma City).
OU scored the game's first 15 points and didn't allow UTEP to score until 5:13 had elapsed. Oklahoma's run was fueled by seven straight possessions that resulted in points (7-for-8 shooting during the stretch).
With just over seven minutes remaining, UTEP started a 16-4 run that cut OU's lead to 64-60. The Sooners responded with a 4-1 run, thanks to a 3-pointer by Steven Pledger with 1:03 left and a free throw 44 seconds later.
Senior Romero Osby recorded his second straight double-double (ninth in his 34-game OU career). The forward registered game highs of 16 points and 10 rebounds, as well as a career-high-tying 4 assists. He was a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line and 6-of-10 from the field.
Pledger finished with 12 points with the help of 3-for-6 3-point shooting. The senior has 10 of OU's 20 treys on the year and is shooting .455 from long distance (10-for-22).
The Sooners held an 11-2 advantage in fast break points (all in the first half), and outscored the Miners 11-8 on second-chance points. Both teams' benches scored an even 22 points apiece, while UTEP outscored OU 26-16 in the paint.
Oklahoma caused 17 UTEP turnovers and had 8 steals, compared to 11 OU turnovers and 6 steals for UTEP. The Sooners outscored the Miners 22-12 in points off turnovers.
OU shot 41.7 percent from the field, and 33.3 percent from 3-point range. In the first half, Oklahoma shot 54.8 percent from the field and was 3-for-6 from beyond the arc. On the night, UTEP made 41.3 percent of its field goal attempts and 40.0 percent from downtown.
For the second time this season, every Sooner who played found the scoring column. Ten Sooners saw playing time, all of them at least 9 minutes. Six of them scored at least 5 points, and four scored at least 8 points.
Five OU players had at least 4 rebounds, led by Osby's 10. The Sooners totaled 38 rebounds on the night, while the Miners had 32. Oklahoma has outrebounded each of its three opponents (by an average of 11.7 per game).
OU will face Clemson or Gonzaga in second-round action on Friday at 6:30 p.m. CT.