Tahlequah Daily Press

January 28, 2014

Sooner surge

Sooners rise to the occasion and come away with 88-76 Bedlam victory


— How did Oklahoma’s Ryan Spangler and Jordan Woodard handle the pressure of playing in their first Bedlam game?

Like it was their 10th.

Spangler scored 15 points and yanked down 17 rebounds, while Woodard added 18 points to lead the 23rd-ranked Sooners to an 88-76 victory Monday night over No. 8 Oklahoma State at Lloyd Noble Center.

The victory lifted OU to 17-4 and 6-2 in the Big 12 Conference. For now, it is all alone at second place in the league after its third win over a top 12 team in the last six games.

The Cowboys dropped to 16-4 and 4-3 and into a tie for the fourth spot with Kansas State.

The game — the 225th meeting between the schools — marked Spangler’s and Woodard’s initiation to the rivalry. Both the Oklahoma-bred players turned in their most dominant performances of the season in front of a crowd of 11,002.

“I just try to out-hustle people,” Spangler said after notching his fourth double-double in the last six games. “I think that puts me in the right position to get the ball. They’re falling into my hands right now.”

A lot of things fell right for the Sooners on Monday. It dominated the Cowboys in two essential areas: bench play and the ability to draw fouls.

Tyler Neal came off the bench to score 15 points on 5-for-6 shooting and Frank Booker added eight by going 2 for 3 from beyond the 3-point line.

The Sooners’ 30 bench points were the most they’ve scored since a 20-point win Nov. 13 over Idaho.

The Cowboys got plenty of bench points, as well. Phil Forte came off the bench to score 20 for the Cowboys, but the Cowboys had to go to their bench out of pure necessity.

OSU All-American guard Marcus Smart scored 22 points but was on the bench most of the first half due to foul trouble. Forward Le’Bryan Nash was limited to just 17 minutes — and eight points — and fouled out. He joined freshman Stevie Clark there. He drew five fouls in 11 minutes.

Still, the Sooners missed a golden opportunity to knock the Cowboys out early due to the foul trouble. Yet it only had an eight-point lead at halftime.

“We didn’t get the knockout, not that you expect to get that in the first half,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “We would’ve liked to widen the margin, but we weren’t able to.”

Woodard, however, took over in the second half. The freshman scored 17 of his 18 points after halftime, starting with an off-balance 3-pointer that put OU up 12 with a little more than 17 minutes left in the game.

“I just kept finding my spots and my teammates kept getting me the ball when I was open,” Woodard said. “I just wanted to keep attacking because OSU was in foul trouble early in the game.”

The Sooners pushed their lead up to as many at 17 with a little under 14 minutes to go. The Cowboys sliced their deficit down to 76-70 with 3:40 left, but OU answered with a 7-0 run to put the game away.

OU won, despite off nights from its leading scorers Cameron Clark and Buddy Hield. Hield finished with 11 points, and Clark had just seven.

“The trademark of this team all year long has been different guys on different nights stepping up and giving us great support,” Kruger said. “We beat very good Oklahoma State, and that makes it even more satisfying."