Oklahoma Basketball: Sooners fend off Frogs, 77-69

After a brutal stretch in which they played Texas, Kansas, Iowa State, Kansas State, and Baylor, the Oklahoma Sooners were looking forward to a game versus TCU.  The Horned Frogs, 0-5 in the conference coming into the game, seemed a step down from their precursors.

Boy, were they the furthest thing from it.

TCU came out strong, and fighting, showing its grit and determination.  The Horned Frogs hung around for much of the first half, with Karviar Shepard and Kyan Anderson leading the way.  The Sooners were able to get some separation, but as soon as they did, TCU closed the gap.  By halftime, the Sooner lead was a mere 40-36.

The Oklahoma Sooners survive versus TCU. (Photo from Soonersports.com)

The Oklahoma Sooners survive versus TCU. (Photo from Soonersports.com)

To start the second half, the Horned Frogs cut the lead to just one, but again the Sooners created separation.  Several Sooners contributed baskets as the lead expanded to 10.  10 minutes into the half, one might have seen this as the Sooners responding to a wakeup call, and taking control of the game.  What ensued, however, did not support that theory.  TCU went on a tear, netting three pointer after three pointer, and eventually knotting the score at 66.  From that point on, however, it was all Oklahoma.  The Sooners outscored the Horned Frogs 11-3 in the game’s final three minutes to escape with a 77-69 win.

Ryan Spangler once again proved his rebounding prowess.  The sophomore recorded another double-double with 13 points and 16 rebounds on the evening.  His 4-for-8 shooting from the field kept his streak of 50% shooting games alive.  Spangler hasn’t gone a game this season under 50% from the floor.

Overall, Oklahoma’s scoring attack was very balanced.  Spangler, Cameron Clark (15), Buddy Hield, (16), Isaiah Cousins (11), and Je’lon Hornbeak (10) all netted double figures.  Cousins and Clark also made contributions in steals and rebounds.  Clark with five steals and six boards, and Cousins with three steals and seven boards.

One of the reasons that TCU was able to stick around for as long as they did was turnovers.  The Sooners committed several unforced errors early and the Horned Frogs were able to capitalize on these errors.  Another reason was that TCU was able to control the game’s pace.  The Sooners were not able to get out and run as much as they would have liked, because the Horned Frogs would milk the clock on their possessions.  It was effective in disrupting the rhythm of the Sooners’ offense.

Still, the fact that Oklahoma was able to overcome a valiant effort and survive a scare is comforting.

Next, Oklahoma (15-4, 4-2) will travel to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech (10-9, 2-4).  Tip-off is set for 3 PM CST on Saturday, Jan. 25.

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