Neal earns conference honor

OU's Tyler Neal, Buddy Hield and Cam Clark among players earning recognition by the Big 12 conference.

Oklahoma didn't figure to get shut out in the Big 12 conference awards, and senior Tyler Neal made sure the Sooners were included.

Neal is the co-winner of the Big 12's Sixth Man of the Year award to go along with Oklahoma State's Phil Forte as the conference announced all of its winners Sunday afternoon.

Neal, an in-state product from Oklahoma City Putnam City West, found his niche this season with the Sooners coming off the bench.

He is averaging 6.4 points per game and 3.4 rebounds per contest, while shooting 42 percent from 3-point territory.

In a loaded conference as the Big 12 was the season, not a shock or a shame to not have an All-Big 12 First Team member, but OU is represented.

Sophomore guard Buddy Hield was named to the conference's second team, while senior forward Cameron Clark earned third team honors.

Hield leads the team in scoring at 16.8 points per game and is second in the conference in steals. Clark is next in the scoring column at 15.2 points per game and is averaging 5.4 rebounds per game.

Forward Ryan Spangler, who nearly averages a double-double in points and rebounds, was named to the honorable mention list.

Despite a 23-8 overall record and finishing 12-6 in the conference, this was not the year for Lon Kruger to be named the conference's top coach. Instead the honor went to Texas' Rick Barnes for the fourth time in his tenure in Austin.

Iowa State's Melvin Ejim was named the conference's top player and fellow Cylcone DeAndre Kane was named Newcomer of the Year. Kansas cleaned up with Andrew Wiggins earning Freshman of the Year and Joel Embiid winning Defensive Player of the Year.

The awards were voted on by the conference coaches and no coach was allowed to vote for his own players.

OU, the No. 2 seed in the Big 12 tournament, will play in the quarterfinals 6 p.m. CST Thursday in Kansas City against either Baylor or TCU.

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