NORMAN, Okla. – For one reason or another, the sophomore season for Oklahoma guard Je’lon Hornbeak hasn’t been what he had been hoping for.
He’s had no problem in accepting coming off the bench, but a foot injury before the season and one during the season has rendered him ineffective for the better part of the season.
But OU needed a spark against TCU and got it from Hornbeak as OU was able to pull out a much tougher than anticipated 77-69 victory against the Horned Frogs on Wednesday night.
OU and TCU were tied 66-66 with 3:33 left before the Sooners finished the game on an 11-3 run with four of those points coming from Hornbeak.
“I was just looking to stay consistent,” Hornbeak said. “I’ve been in the gym, and I knew my time would come. The first one went down and you get a little confidence after that. It was good to see one jump shot go in. I just kept attacking and the ball just fell in for me.”
Hornbeak scored 10 points off the bench after having only scored six points in the previous five conference games.
While Hornbeak provided the lift off the bench, it was sophomore forward Ryan Spangler leading the way for the starters. After having zero points at halftime, Spangler finished with 13 points and 16 rebounds.
OU (15-4 overall, 4-2 Big 12) led 74-67 in the final minute when Spangler was forced to hoist a last-second three with the shot clock winding down. He drained it, giving out a 10-point margin with 33.4 seconds left.
“He has been terrific,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “He’s all about team. In the second half, he just did a terrific job. He kept some balls alive in addition to the 16 rebounds that he got. But he has been like that.”
OU was able to stretch the lead to 59-49 with 10 minutes left, but TCU didn’t go away and quickly responded with a 9-2 run and played OU tight the rest of the way.
It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win and Kruger said he was happy with the way his team executed down the stretch.
“I thought the last four or five possessions on each end were really solid,” Kruger said.
Buddy Hield led OU with 16 points, while Cameron Clark had 15 points and five steals.
The Sooners are at Texas Tech on Saturday afternoon.