NORMAN, Okla. (AP)—Austin Johnson hit five 3-pointers and scored 18 points on Friday night to lead Oklahoma past Norfolk State 99-36 in the season opener for both teams, giving Jeff Capel a win in his first game as the Sooners’ coach.
Freshman guard Tony Crocker added 15 points for Oklahoma, which extended its winning streak in nonconference games at Lloyd Noble Center to 47 straight games, the longest in NCAA Division I. The Sooners have won 20 of their last 22 season openers and 27 of their last 28 home openers.
Norfolk State managed only two baskets and seven points in the final 13 minutes. The Spartans of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference set a school record for fewest points scored in a game. The program’s previous low of 37 was set against Maryland State during the 1953-54 season.
Norfolk State hasn’t won its opener since the 1998-99 season, its second season as a Division I school. The Spartans now are 0-2 all-time against Big 12 Conference teams, having also lost to Colorado in the 1997-98 season.
Oklahoma tabbed Capel, who spent the past four seasons as Virginia Commonwealth’s coach, to replace Kelvin Sampson, who departed after last season for Indiana. The Sooners lost three starters off last season’s team and several recruits opted to go elsewhere after Sampson’s departure, leaving Oklahoma with only 12 players on its roster.
The Sooners temporarily lost two of those players this week, when senior guard Michael Neal served a two-game suspension for breaking NCAA rules. He had participated in a summer basketball league outside a 100-mile radius from his residence.
Freshman guard Bobby Maze suffered a broken bone in his foot Wednesday, leaving the Sooners with only 10 available players—including two walk-ons— for Friday’s game.
The Sooners’ lack of depth mattered little and probably contributed to the 63-point margin of victory, as Capel had few substitution options. Oklahoma led 9-0 less than 2 1/2 minutes into the game, as the Spartans committed four turnovers on their first five possessions.
The Oklahoma lead hit double digits at the 15:44 mark, went to 20 points at the 11:04 mark and was 30 points with 4:11 left in the first half.
The Sooners slowed down some in the second half, but not much. Their lead ballooned to 40 points with 14:24 left, 50 points with 7:48 left and 60 with 3:56 left. The Sooners had two chances to reach 100, but Keith Clark missed the front end of a one-and-one free-throw opportunity and Taylor Griffin missed the second of two free throws with 25 seconds left.
Johnson, a sophomore point guard, scored all his points in the first half and finished with nine assists. Longar Longar added 14 points and David Godbold scored 13 for Oklahoma.
Calvin Brown had 10 points for Norfolk State, which committed 21 turnovers and shot 24.6 percent from the field.