No. 23 Oklahoma beats No. 8 Oklahoma State 88-76
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) Ryan Spangler’s intense play has fueled Oklahoma’s growth this season.
The sophomore forward had 15 points and a career-high 17 rebounds to help the 23rd-ranked Sooners defeat No. 8 Oklahoma State 88-76 on Monday night.
Spangler, in his first season playing for Oklahoma after transferring from Gonzaga, has displayed an energy level that has helped change the Sooners from a team that could just score a lot of points into one that held Oklahoma State to 40 percent shooting.
”Ryan’s kind of been the cornerstone for our growth in the toughness area,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. ”I think we’re getting tougher. I think we’ve made big strides in that area.”
It was the first time both teams have entered a ”Bedlam” rivalry game ranked since 2005.
The Sooners got great efforts from a few unexpected sources. Freshman Jordan Woodard scored 17 of his 18 points in the second half and reserve Tyler Neal added a season-high 15 points for the Sooners (17-4, 6-2 Big 12), who won their fourth straight game and claimed their third win over a ranked conference opponent this season.
Woodard averaged just 11 points a game and Neal averaged 5.9 coming into the game.
”That’s kind of been the trademark of this team all year long – different guys, different nights, stepping up and giving us great support,” Kruger said. ”We beat a great Oklahoma State team. That makes it even more satisfying.”
Oklahoma shot 46 percent from the field and made 8 of 17 3-pointers. The Cowboys committed 29 fouls and were outscored 30-15 at the free throw line. Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said the poor defense and the foul trouble were related.
”We didn’t defend very much,” he said. ”When you don’t defend, you put yourself in position to foul. Give them credit. They beat us off the dribble. Fouling is usually a product of being out of position.”
Oklahoma State guard Phil Forte said the team has to handle situations like Monday’s better.
”We need to quit worrying about the refs and all that and just play,” he said. ”Move onto the next play. That’s the most important thing.”
Marcus Smart had 22 points on 6-of-18 shooting and spent much of the game in foul trouble. Forte scored 20 points and made all six of his 3-point tries and Markel Brown added 18 points for the Cowboys (16-4, 4-3).
OSU’s Le’Bryan Nash, who scored a career-high 29 points against West Virginia on Saturday, fouled out with eight points in 17 minutes.
Oklahoma dominated early as Oklahoma State’s Smart, Nash and Stevie Clark all committed two fouls in the first 12 minutes.
Forte gave the Cowboys some life with two deep 3-pointers in a run that trimmed Oklahoma’s lead to 32-26. The Sooners extended it to 46-36 on a 3-pointer by Neal with 46 seconds left in the first half, and the Sooners led 46-38 at the break.
Neal scored 10 in the first half. Smart played just 6 minutes in the first half and had six points on 2-for-4 shooting.
Woodard drained a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to push Oklahoma’s lead to 53-41, and he later hit a 3-pointer to bump OU’s lead to 13. A 3 by Frank Booker increased the Sooners’ lead to 16 points, then Nash committed his fourth foul with 14:17 remaining, and Clark fouled out with 12:18 to go.
A 3-pointer by Smart and a dunk by Brown cut OU’s lead to 64-57.
Spangler scored on a putback, was fouled by Smart and made the free throw to put the Sooners up 75-62 with just over 6 minutes to play.
Oklahoma State cut Oklahoma’s lead to six, but Woodard’s 3-pointer with just under 3 minutes left bumped the Sooners’ lead to 10.
”Give them credit,” Ford said. ”Every time we would make a semi-run at them, they would make a big shot and we would make a silly play.”
The rematch is Feb. 15 at Oklahoma State.
”They’re a great team,” Neal said. ”They’re going to do some good things this year, and we’re going to have to be ready when we play them in Stillwater.”
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP.