NORMAN, Okla. – Oklahoma basketball team didn’t expect to be in a fight Tuesday night, but the Sooners certainly were against UT Arlington.
Squandering an early lead, the Sooners survived for a 91-89 victory against the visiting Mavericks to improve to 10-1.
OU senior forward Cameron Clark hit two free throws with 9 seconds left to break an 89-89 tie. Following a UTA timeout, Brandon Edwards’ game-tying attempt went in and out at the buzzer.
Clark was one point shy of his career high, scoring 31 points. OU needed every last one of them, too. Clark was a stellar 5-of-7from the 3-point line and added six rebounds and three steals.
“When we get out in transition, that is where I excel,” Clark said. “My teammates do a great job of finding me. We just try to break the press and knock down shots.”
Clark was the beneficiary of many assists from freshman Jordan Woodard. Logging a career-high 36 minutes, Woodard had a career-high 12 assists and only one turnover. But playing the long minutes combined with him not feeling well saw his game take a dip in the final six minutes and his tired legs led to some uncharacteristic missed free throws in crunch time.
OU led by 14 points with 12 minutes left in the second half but UTA wouldn’t go away. Guard Reger Dowell, a transfer from Oklahoma State, finished with 30 points. Dowell and guard Jamel Outler each connected on five 3-pointers.
Edwards tied the game with 41 seconds left, setting up OU’s final drive. Clark drove baseline and was fouled and had no problem making the free throws.
“I wasn’t really paying attention to the crowd or anything like that,” Clark said. “My team needed me and I was able to knock down two free throws.”
Sophomore guard Buddy Hield scored 19 points on his birthday, while power forward Ryan Spangler added 16 points and eight rebounds.
OU coach Lon Kruger said he wasn’t sure if Spangler was going to be able to play, but Spangler told him he was feeling fine. Kruger said Spangler said it didn’t impact his play, going a strong 30 minutes and not holding anything back.