Following a shocking loss to Texas Tech on their home floor, the Oklahoma Sooners traveled to Stillwater to take on Oklahoma State in a bedlam matchup. The Sooners had already defeated the Cowboys once this season, to the tune of an 88-76 win of their home floor. However, winning on the road would prove to be a lot tougher. Still, with Marcus Smart out due to a three game suspension for his antics in which he shoved a fan just a week ago, and Oklahoma State on an epic downhill slide even before then, the odds were in the Sooners’ favor. It was still tough, but this was further confirmed when Oklahoma eked out a 77-74 victory to hand the Cowboys their sixth consecutive loss.
Buddy Hield bounced back boisterously after a three point performance in the Tech loss by scoring 22 points to lead the Sooners. Not only did he lead the team, but he was extremely clutch down the stretch. With Oklahoma trailing 65-68 and 1:48 to play, Hield drained a three that tied the game at 68. As if that weren’t clutch enough, he followed this up by nailing another triple to give the Sooners a 71-68 lead which they would never relinquish. As an elated Hield bounced up and down and pumped his fists, Oklahoma State called timeout. Phil Forte missed and three out of the timeout, and from there it became a game of foul shots, of which Oklahoma would nail six straight to win the game.
Even though they ultimately won, Oklahoma did struggle with the Cowboys for much of the game’s early stages. The Cowboys would open up a seven point lead in the first half before Oklahoma, with a spark from Tyler Neal off the bench, would come storming back. Neal came in and hit a couple of threes, Hield got going, and the Sooner lead would grow to six before settling at 39-37 by halftime.
The Cowboys came out of halftime playing like their season was on the line. The tandem of Markel Brown and Le’Bryan Nash would help them regain control, as their built a lead up to eight. However, once again it was a bench player that would prove to be the Cowboys’ kryptonite. Frank Booker came in and promptly began making it rain. The freshman swished three after three, including one that gave Oklahoma a brief 60-57 lead. The freshman finished with a career high of 15 points and shot 4-for-6 from downtown. In the end, though Hield will get a lot of credit, and justly so, for bringing the Sooners back and winning them the game, it all began with Booker.
Still, though many of the Sooners shined in today’s game, there were some exceptions. Perhaps the reason that Oklahoma got out to such a poor start was that Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard, typically two constants for the Sooners, were a little less than stellar today. The two combined to go 1-for-15, score four points, and commit three turnovers. The Sooners are going to need more production from them to continue to win, and hopefully today was a mere anomaly as the two have both been very reliable up to this point.
Ryan Spangler got it going again, with a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds. Oklahoma feeds off of his toughness, and if Spangler is having a good game, it typically means a win for the Sooners. Oklahoma is 11-3 when spangler grabs double-digit boards.
The Sooners (19-7, 8-5) will have a week off before facing Kansas State (17-7, 7-4) on Saturday, Feb. 22. Tip-off is set for 3 PM CST at the Lloyd Noble Center.
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