It wasn’t the kind of Big Red Battle that college football fans fell in love with decades ago.
But Oklahoma and Nebraska put on a fun college basketball game on Thanksgiving Day, with OU shooting well from the field and driving to a 69-56 win.
It was the Sooners’ opening game of the ESPN Events Invitational at Disney World’s State Farm Field House in Kissimmee, FL.
The Sooners (4-1) are advancing to play the winner of Thursday’s late game between Memphis and Seton Hall. The game ends on Friday at 7 p.m. Nebraska (3-2) falls into the losing group.
OU shot 51 percent from the floor for the game, with 45 percent from 3-point range.
The Sooners shot 53 percent from the field (7-of-12 from the perimeter) in the first half and were driven early by Tanner and Jacob Groves, who scored 12 and 10 before the half, respectively. It was the first time this season that both Groves brothers have scored in double digits in the same game.
OU led by as much as 14 (37-23) in the first half and built a 41-34 lead at the break despite rebounding at 18-9.
Tanner Groves, who shot 10-0 from 3-point range in the Sooners’ previous game, buried two Treys in the first half and then opened the second half with another that gave the Sooners a 44-34 lead.
The Sooners continued to make big shots in the second half to maintain a comfortable lead.
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A Jalen Hill 3 from the right corner extended OU’s lead to 49-38, 15:59 to play.
Grant Sherfield’s fadeaway defeated the shot-clock buzzer 9:57 from time, pushing the Sooners back to a 53-43 lead.
Hill put a 55-43 lead with his turnaround jump in the lane at the 7-minute mark, and Tanner Groves drove through the lane for a layup to take it to 57-45 with 5:16 to go bring to.
Playing Milos Uzan’s driving layup at 5:36 pushed it back to a 59-47 lead, and Hill gave the Sooners a 61-49 cushion with another driving layup to play at 4:33.
Tanner Groves then pretty much finished the game with another driving layup – this one in a pump fake and reverse to the rim – that left the Sooners 63-51 with 3:50.
Jacob Groves’ one-hand floater beat the shot clock 2:08, and Groves’ fast-break layup after a feed from Grant Sherfield made it 67-53.
Tanner Groves was 7-of-8 from the field, including 3-for-3 from range, and led the Sooners with 17 points with three blocked shots and five rebounds. Jacob Groves was 7-of-12 for 16 points and six rebounds.
Sherfield finished with 10 points and eight assists, while Hill had 13 on 6-of-10 shooting to walk with three steals.
Nebraska lost in fouls (19-9), free throws (11-of-19 to 2-of-3) and rebounds (35-23) despite having a huge advantage.
The other side of the bracket consists of Florida State, Siena, Ole Miss and Stanford. Siena and Ole Miss won their matches and advanced to Friday’s semifinals.