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January 6, 2014

Sooners snap 8-game skid in Austin, ready for KU

Untitled Document

There's video of Lon Kruger going from man to man in the visitor's locker room at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. He's hugging players and high-fiving players and generally in a fired up mood.

The Sooners had just beaten Texas 88-85 for their first conference win of the season. They'd come back after being down by seven points to the Longhorns with 7:40 left to play to win it, and they did it as they had won all season -- with a team effort.

SCOOPHD: SOONERS SAVOR VICTORY IN AUSTIN


Video by Eddie Radosevich

Nearly a year after knocking off a top 5 team (Kansas) for the first time in their careers and 10 months after playing in the NCAA tournament for the first time, seniors Cameron Clark and Tyler Neal added another memorable win to add to their resumes.

"It was big for us," Clark said. "Me and Tyler, we were ready for the game. We had a conversation saying it was going to be our last time there. We're glad our team helped us out and got the win."

Five OU players ended the night with double-digits scoring and not one of them was Cam Clark, the Sooners' leading scorer and talisman this season.

Sophomore Buddy Hield finished with 22 points. Sophomore Isaiah Cousins had 13, as did Neal. Sophomore Ryan Spangler had 11, and freshman Jordan Woodard had 12.

Cousins has matured as a wing in his second season after being handed the responsibilities of a starting point guard as a freshman. Last Saturday proved to be capable -- and more importantly, willing -- to challenge Texas' guards when sophomore guard Je'lon Hornbeak needed a break.

He succeeded at a time when OU needed him most this season.

"Jordan was in foul trouble early," Kruger said, "and then Je'lon being able to step in there and then Isaiah. Je'lon wasn't going to be able to go too long from a wind standpoint. Isaiah, I thought, stepped in the first half and did a really good job at the point."

The victory made OU 1-0 in Big 12 play and 48-36 all-time versus the Longhorns. While that's all well and good for OU, it's likely not why they were celebrating.

Oklahoma hadn't won a game in Austin since Feb. 28, 2005. That was two head coaches ago.

The win will boost OU's confidence heading into its next two games against ranked conference opponents because now the Sooners know they can compete with anybody when they play their best game.

"Anytime you win, period, in the Big 12, you feel good about it," Kruger said. "Winning a road game adds a little more to that for sure. As a conference opener, it adds a little more to that. I thought guys really battled.

"I thought guys on both teams really fought hard in that Texas game. I think this team maybe a better feeling what it takes to play and to win a Big 12 game. Anytime you can do that, it adds to your experience."



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