NORMAN, Okla. – Oklahoma didn’t have enough time to get too worked up about its Bedlam home showdown against No. 8 Oklahoma State so the national stage moment was never an issue.
The Sooners, ranked 23rd in the latest poll released Monday afternoon, were coming off a road win Saturday afternoon, and it was back to work Sunday.
And back to work Monday night. In front of a raucous Lloyd Noble Center crowd, OU took care of business against the Cowboys in an 88-76 victory in front of 13,093 fans.
As has been the case the entire season, it was a team effort with multiple players stepping up to play huge roles. Coincidentally, it was an Oklahoma high school night.
Players from out of state learn fast what Bedlam is all about. But for players like guard Jordan Woodard and forward Ryan Spangler, it’s what they’ve grown up watching and dreaming about.
For forward Tyler Neal, it was his last Bedlam home game, and he wanted to make sure he left 4-0 against OSU.
All three did their part and then some.
“It was great,” Woodard said. “It was good for the school and for the university for them to come out and support us the way they for a rivalry game. It was important for us to protect home court.”
Spangler had nine points and five rebounds in the first half before picking up two fouls with nine minutes left. But that was OK as Neal and D.J. Bennett stepped up. Neal scored 10 of his 15 points in the first half. He was 5-of-6 shooting from the floor, including a perfect 3 of 3 from 3-point territory.
The Sooners took a 46-38 lead into halftime but knew OSU was going to make a run. Marcus Smart and Le’Bryan Nash each picked up two fouls in the first half and were going to try to make a statement.
Instead it was Woodard who made a statement of his own. He scored 17 of his team-high 18 points in the second half, including making three 3-pointers.
“I just wanted to keep attacking,” Woodard said. “OSU was in foul trouble early in the game and coach wanted me to keep attacking to see if we can further that foul trouble.”
Then Spangler went to work. He only scored six points in the second half, but he cleaned the glass as he has done all season. Spangler grabbed 12 of his 17 rebounds in the second half.
“Hustle,” Spangler said. “I just try to out-hustle people. I think that will put me in the right position to get the ball. Right now they are falling in my hand where I want them to.”
And right now OU is sitting comfortably in second place in the Big 12 at 6-2 and 17-4 overall. It’s not a statement win in the grind that is the Big 12, but there’s no doubt the win is another example of what Lon Kruger has been able to do for the Sooners.
“We know how tough the rematch will be in Stillwater,” Kruger said. “It’s good for college basketball and for basketball in general in the state and there was a great crowd tonight. The students made a big impact on the energy right off the bat, and I know our players appreciated that.”