Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) goes up for a shot as George Mason guard Isaiah Jackson (44) defends in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Norman, Okla., Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)
Kyle Phillips
December 31, 2014

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) Buddy Hield and No. 18 Oklahoma were able to shake off some early rust.

Hield scored all but two of his 17 points in the first half, and the Sooners shut down George Mason for a 61-43 victory Wednesday.

Oklahoma (9-3) returned from a nine-day holiday layoff in the final game for both schools before conference play begins.

''We didn't open as sharp as we need to or want to,'' coach Lon Kruger said. ''But we had a good run there in the first half to create a little margin that we played with pretty much the rest of the ballgame.''

Oklahoma's swarming defense held George Mason to 29.5 percent shooting from the field, including 0 for 14 on 3-pointers. The Sooners also forced 11 turnovers that led to 14 points.

Oklahoma controlled the interior, outscoring the Patriots 34-26 in the paint and outrebounding them 47-38 despite limited minutes from senior forward TaShawn Thomas, who was in foul trouble much of the day.

Freshman forward Khadeem Lattin stepped up with Thomas on the bench, grabbing nine rebounds to tie his career high.

George Mason (5-7) was led by junior center Shevon Thompson's nine points and 11 rebounds.

''I thought in transition we had a chance to get some run-out baskets,'' Patriots coach Paul Hewitt said. ''We made an effort early to try to get our bigs going in transition. They got back. We knew in the halfcourt it was going to be tough. I thought in the second half, quite honestly, we had some great looks. It's one of those things where you don't see the ball go in, it just gets harder and harder to make an open shot.''

Those second-half struggles were personified by freshman guard Isaiah Jackson. After scoring nine points in the first half, he went 0 for 6 from the field after halftime.

George Mason was able to keep the game tight early, but watched Oklahoma's lead balloon to 14 points at halftime thanks in part to a 14-2 run aided by four turnovers. The Sooners tightened their defense even more in the second half, holding the Patriots to 20 points.

The Sooners were not without their own offensive woes. They shot 39.3 percent for the game, including 26.1 percent in the second half. Oklahoma also committed 14 turnovers.

''It feels like we could have done a better job,'' Hield said. ''I started making shots, and Jordan (Woodard) found me in some good spots. (Thomas) got a couple offensive rebounds, and we loosened up. Our defense helped us a little bit.''

Thomas sat out the majority of the first half after committing his second foul 4 minutes into the game. But he was able to contribute nine points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes.

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TIP-INS

George Mason: The Patriots' previous low was 30.9 percent shooting in their season-opening loss to Cornell. ... George Mason is 1-2 in road games.

Oklahoma: Woodard, a sophomore guard, had eight rebounds to eclipse his previous career high of six. ... Oklahoma improved to 6-0 at home. ... The Sooners have held nine of their 12 opponents to 40 percent shooting or less.

UP NEXT

George Mason returns home for its Atlantic 10 opener Saturday night against La Salle.

Oklahoma opens Big 12 play Saturday night at home against No. 22 Baylor, which is averaging more than 70 points per game. ''We know how tough conference play is going to be,'' Kruger said. ''Obviously, guys are looking forward to that challenge.''

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