Tahlequah Daily Press

OU Sports

January 15, 2014

OU’s offense disappears in loss to Wildcats

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Oklahoma discovered some things at Kansas State Tuesday night. It could defend at a much higher level than it had been was the main one.

Ultimately, it didn’t find the one thing that had carried it all season — the ability to score. OU quit doing it in the final five minutes and fell to the Wildcats, 72-66, at Bramlage Coliseum.

“When you get one in position where you have a chance to win on the road, you’d like to go ahead and finish it. Not quite ready to do that I guess,” OU coach Lon Kruger said.

The fact the Sooners were in position to win with less than six minutes left was the stunner on a night when leading scorer Cameron Clark was held to two points. Jordan Woodard only had five and spent most of the second half on the bench and the Sooners only connected on 22-of-66 attempts on the night seemed more like a formula for a blowout loss.

Ryan Spangler kept OU in the game for a long time. The sophomore forward posted another double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds.

It was his two free throws with 5:37 left that gave the Sooners a 62-56 lead. At that point, there was every indication the 25th-ranked Sooners (13-4, 2-2 Big 12) were going to grab a second tough conference road win in as many tries.

They hung around despite the Wildcats — the Big 12’s most offensively challenged team shooting 59.1 percent from the field and burying 8 of 13 3-pointers in the first half.

Marcus Foster, who led the Wildcats with 18 points, hit three straight and Will Spradling and Wesley Iwundu connected on back-to-back attempts early in the first half. Five possessions and the Wildcats racked up 15 points on mostly uncontested 3-pointers. Iwundu scored 11 points and 4 for 6 from the field and perfect 3 of 3 from beyond the arc. Shane Southwell added 16 and was 2 for 3 from long distance.

OU somehow survived those flurries and others to stay in the game by dominating the glass and coming up with loose balls.

After Spangler’s two free throws, there was only one thing left to do.

“That’s when you have to try to put the game away,” Spangler said. “We hadn’t all night and we had to keep fighting and trying to get the score up. It wasn’t at six very long. We didn’t do a very good job at that. We have to get better at that.”

It wasn’t Iwundu answered with a 3-pointer 20 second later. The Wildcats (13-4, 3-1) kept making shots. The Sooners did not.

Over the last 6 minutes, 14 seconds, the Sooners were 0 for 7, 2 for 4 from the free-throw line and worst of all gave up five offensive rebounds.

“We had some decent looks that we needed to convert,” Kruger said. “Had a couple free throws they made and we didn’t. Again, possessions that you have to convert down the stretch on the road in Big 12 play.”

The Sooners did those things 10 days ago at Texas. They did them three days ago in the victory over No. 9 Iowa State.

However, it had no problem scoring in those games. Since scoring a career-high 32 points seven days ago against Kansas, Clark is 5 for 25 from the field. Tuesday night his only basket came on a layup with 8:16 to go. It was part of a 1-for-9 performance.

“I just couldn’t get going man. I couldn’t get going,” Clark said.

He wasn’t the only one.

Buddy Hield scored 12 points, but he 5  for 16 and 2 of 7 from beyond the arc. OU did get nine points from freshman guard Frank Booker in the first half  — all from 3-point range — and Tyler Neal added seven points. The Sooners’ bench outscored the Wildcats 19-13.

The Wildcats took away the Sooners’ No. 1 identity Tuesday night.

“I think anybody on our team can score. We’re all pretty good at that,” Spangler said. “We’re gonna have to have other people step up if someone is having a rough night. We didn’t do it good enough tonight.”

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