Woodward, Okla. —
They weren't the last time these two met.
The game was a rematch of each team's second game this season, when UCLA came to Norman, Okla., and beat the Sooners 86-80 on Nov. 14. In that game, the Bruins had bludgeoned the Sooners with their inside game, outrebounding them 56-34 and turning 24 offensive boards into 23 second-chance points.
But on this night, the Sooners fought on relatively even terms inside and outscored the Bruins 33-6 from 3-point range, hitting 11 of 27 to UCLA's 2 of 12. Three times in the last 3 minutes, it was McFarland who grabbed offensive rebounds to take time off the clock and add to the lead.
"We just played together and we played with a lot of emotion," McFarland said. "We refused to lose. It was all or nothing. It was a team effort and it just felt amazing the whole night."
Down 40-30 late in the first half, the Bruins closed with a 7-2 run and scored eight of the first 11 points in the second half to tie it briefly at 45.
But then Campbell hit a 3, McFarland made a free throw and Ellenberg tossed in a 3 from at least five feet behind the arc to put Oklahoma back up 52-45. The lead swelled to eight when Griffin hit a foul shot.
After the teams traded baskets over the next 2 1/2 minutes, Ellenberg raced down the floor in transition and hit a 3, pushing the lead back to 10 with 12:19 remaining.
"We felt like were chasing them from the start of the game," Close said.
The advantage remained at or near 10 points until Ellenberg came off a pick out high and hit nothing but net on a 3 for a 74-60 lead with just 4:31 left. UCLA never got closer than nine again.
The Sooners are making their 16th trip to the NCAA tournament and their 14th in a row.