NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Austin Reaves made the most of his return to action.
The junior guard scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half to help Oklahoma defeat Texas-San Antonio 85-67 on Tuesday night in the season opener for both teams.
Reaves, who transferred from Wichita State, made 8 of 13 shots in the second half after going 1 for 7 in the first.
“That was crazy.” Oklahoma guard De’Vion Harmon said. “To witness that, just to see him go nuts — as a teammate, you’ve got to be happy for him. I was celebrating.”
Reaves sat out last season, then matched his career-high point total in his first game as a Sooner. He said Oklahoma’s improved intensity in the second half led to his opportunities.
“I thought we rebounded the ball well at the guard spots starting in the second half,” he said. “I thought we transitioned to good shots and they started falling.”
Harmon, a freshman, scored 23 points. Brady Manek added 16 for the Sooners, who outscored the Roadrunners 49-31 in the second half.
Oklahoma forward Kristian Doolittle sat out because of an NCAA rules violation. Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger announced Monday that the senior played in an unsanctioned summer league game during the offseason.
Still, it was a dominant performance for Oklahoma against a team that was picked to finish second in Conference USA.
Jhivvan Jackson, the Conference USA preseason Player of the Year, had 24 points and 13 rebounds for UTSA, but he made just 9 of 25 shots. Keaton Wallace added 17 points and nine rebounds for the Roadrunners, but he made just 6 of 16 field goals.
“Wallace and Jackson are two premier guards,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “They can go off very quickly. But we made them work for their shots, made them earn their shots.”
The game was tied at 36 at halftime. Oklahoma shot just 36 percent from the field but made 12 of 13 free throws before the break. UTSA shot 41 percent and outrebounded the Sooners 24-16 in the first half.
UTSA led 38-36 before Harmon drained two 3-pointers to put the Sooners ahead. Reaves followed with a pair of layups to put Oklahoma ahead 46-38, and the Sooners rolled from there.
“I thought we’d come out and play a lot better in the second half and the opposite happened,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said. “Transition and second shots really hurt us early in the second half. They popped it open and we couldn’t respond. Couldn’t slow them down.”
UTSA: The Roadrunners battled toe to toe for a half with a Sooners team that has a wealth of young talent.
Oklahoma: The Sooners grew up quickly. The relied on their defense in the first half, then found their shooting stroke in the second half and pulled away. It was an impressive win against a team likely to contend for an NCAA Tournament berth.
Harmon, known for his drives to the hoop, made 8 of 13 shots in his first game for the Sooners. He made 3 of 6 3-pointers, which threw a wrench in Henson’s game plan.
“When he starts knocking down threes, it’s a much different situation,” Henson said. “We knew he could do that, but we kind of hoped he wouldn’t.”
Sophomore guard Jamal Bieniemy had a career-high 11 rebounds to go with five assists.
Oklahoma freshman Cale Montis made a halfcourt shot at halftime to earn free tuition for a year.
UTSA hosts Southern Illinois on Friday.
Oklahoma plays Minnesota on Saturday in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
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“It feels good,” he said. “Sitting out a year wasn’t fun, but it was needed.”