Spangler, Sooners take down TCU

The SportsXchange

NORMAN, Okla. -- Sophomore forward Ryan Spangler kept Oklahoma in Wednesday night's game on the boards.

He finished the job from the field.

Spangler's 3-pointer with less than 35 seconds to play helped lift 25th-ranked Oklahoma to a 77-69 win over TCU at Lloyd Noble Center.

Spangler scored 13 points and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds, leaving TCU coach Trent Johnson shaking his head afterward.

"Spangler's special just in terms of the little things he does for them are the big things to win games -- a crucial rebound here, a crucial pass here," Johnson said.

While Johnson was seeing Spangler up close for the first time, the Sooners are getting used to these kind of performances.

The transfer from Gonzaga is averaging 13.5 rebounds over his past four games. His eight double-doubles leads the Big 12.

"He's been terrific," Sooners coach Lon Kruger said of Spangler. "He's all about team. If he can score and help, that's great.

"He had 11 boards at halftime, and in a big second half, he did a terrific job. He kept some balls alive in addition to the 16 that he got. He's been like that. He's just been fantastic every night out."

All of Spangler's points came in the second half.

Sophomore guard Buddy Hield led the Sooners (15-4, 4-2 Big 12) with 16 points, and senior forward Cameron Clark added 15. The pair combined for five 3-pointers. Clark added five steals.

Junior guard Kyan Anderson led TCU (9-9, 0-6) with 23 points, while junior forward Amric Fields added 15.

"That's probably as well as we've played in league play," Johnson said. "I'm disappointed because we're a lot better team that we'd shown in the first five games."

Close games are becoming the norm for the Sooners. All six of Oklahoma's conference games were decided by seven points or fewer.

"I guess we're getting better at playing in tight games, but we wouldn't want it like that," Spangler said. "We need to work on finishing. We always start out with the lead. At the end of the first half, we've been giving up leads, and that's something we've been working on."

Oklahoma held a double-digit lead late in the first half but saw the margin shrink to four by the break. The Sooners led by 10 with 10 minutes to go before the Horned Frogs once again roared back.

Fields' layup with less than four minutes left tied the game, but the Sooners regained control on the glass and took over the game.

After Fields tied it, the Sooners outrebounded TCU 6-1 the rest of the way and made all six of their free throws. Spangler's late 3-pointer at the shot-clock buzzer put the game away.

The shot was just Spangler's third 3-pointer of the season.

Spangler fouled out on the next possession.

TCU outscored the Sooners 34-26 in the paint and 24-19 off turnovers.

The Horned Frogs hung with the Sooners in the first half, withstanding a 9-0 Oklahoma run late in the half to go into the break trailing by just four.

Oklahoma didn't hit a field goal in the final three minutes of the first half.

Clark sank two of the Sooners' six first-half 3-pointers to help Oklahoma build an early lead.

Oklahoma reeled off the 9-0 run over two minutes late in the half, with Clark's steal setting up Hield's 3-pointer in the middle of the stretch.

Sooners junior forward D.J. Bennett had a dunk following back-to-back blocks on the other end, putting Oklahoma up by 11. The Sooners' offense then disappeared, and TCU took advantage to chip away at the lead before halftime.

"We couldn't get into a rhythm, but I give credit to them," Spangler said. "They did not let us run our stuff as well as we usually do. They kept us from pushing it out, and they slowed the game down how they wanted to."

NOTES: TCU remains winless on the road in the Big 12 since joining the conference before last season. ... Oklahoma senior F Tyler Neal and TCU junior F Amric Fields both starred at Oklahoma City's Putnam City West High School. They played against each other for the first time Wednesday. ... Oklahoma sophomore G Je'lon Hornbeak hit his first field goal in three games early in the first half. Hornbeak had missed 10 consecutive shots since hitting a 3-pointer in the Sooners' Jan. 11 win over Iowa State. ... Of the 11 players who suited up for TCU, just two were taller than 6-foot-7.
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