During his tenure at Loyola-Chicago, Porter Moser became plenty familiar with Indiana State as both schools belonged to the Missouri Valley Conference.
In his first season at Oklahoma, Moser will get another crack at the Sycamores when the Sooners meet Indiana State in the semifinals of the Myrtle Beach Invitational on Friday in Conway, S.C.
Oklahoma advanced to the semifinals with a 79-74 win over East Carolina on Thursday to improve to 3-0 on the season.
Moser said it was good for his team to play in a tight game to open the tournament after the Sooners won their first two games of the season by an average of 35 points.
“We’re going to learn from this,” he said. “You’ve got to get in some close battles to learn about your team. It was good for us to learn about ourselves in a close game and find a way to win when we didn’t have our best stuff.”
The Sooners showed off a balanced offense in Thursday’s win, with five players scoring in double figures and none scoring more than Jordan Goldwire and Umoja Gibson, who each had 13.
Oklahoma was aggressive in attacking the basket and was rewarded by going 21-of-27 from the free-throw line, which were more free-throw attempts than it had in the first two games combined.
Meantime, the Sycamores never trailed against Old Dominion, using a 19-0 run to build a 43-16 lead by halftime in a 77-36 blowout of the Monarchs on Thursday.
While Moser has seen plenty of the Sycamores in recent years, Indiana State (3-1) has a bit different look this season under first-year head coach Josh Schertz.
In the Sycamores’ past two games, opponents are shooting just 29-of-118 from the floor (24.6 percent). Indiana State is amid a stretch in which it’s playing five games in 10 days.
“The best thing you can do with a group that has newness to this system and to this level is to play. We got to experience a wide variety of things,” Schertz said. “We’re learning a lot about ourselves.”
The all-time series between Oklahoma and Indiana State is tied 2-2, with the last meeting coming in March 2001. The Sycamores won 70-68 in overtime.
The winner of Friday’s game will take on the winner of the other semifinal — New Mexico State (3-0) and Utah State (2-1) — in Sunday’s championship game.
–Field Level Media