December 31, 2019 / 2:16 AM / 22 days ago

Manek's 29 lead Oklahoma past UT-Rio Grande Valley

Brady Manek scored a career-high 29 points to lead Oklahoma to a 91-72 win over visiting Texas-Rio Grande Valley on Monday night at Lloyd Noble Center.

The Sooners needed Manek’s scoring production as leading scorer and rebounder Kristian Doolittle missed the game for what Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said on OU radio broadcast was a “conflict of team interests.”

While Oklahoma (9-3) was 5-0 at home heading into the game, it hadn’t been easy — the Sooners hadn’t led at halftime in any of those games. But against the Vaqueros (4-9), Oklahoma jumped ahead early and steadily stretched its lead over the final 10 minutes of the first half with a 26-10 run to go ahead by as many as 20.

UTRGV never pulled closer than 16 points after halftime.

The Sooners had a season-high 21 assists after not compiling more than 15 in any previous game. Oklahoma also outrebounded UTRGV 48-28.

Kur Kuath, making his first career start while starting in Doolittle’s place, scored 10 consecutive Sooners points in the game’s first five minutes. The redshirt junior hadn’t scored more than six points in any of his previous 16 games.

Kuath finished with 17 points. He had scored 25 points overall in 10 previous games this season.

Manek’s previous career high was 28 points, set as a freshman in 2017-18. His nine free throws also set a career high.

Jordan Jackson scored 21 points to lead the Vaqueros. Lesley Varner II added 19.

It was the first time Vaqueros coach Lew Hill had coached against Oklahoma in the arena in which he served as an assistant for five years under Kruger. Hill took the job at UTRGV after Oklahoma’s 2016 NCAA Final Four run.

It was the Vaqueros’ fourth consecutive loss and second in a row to a Big 12 opponent.

—Field Level Media

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