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January 28, 2014

Sooner state natives clutch in Big Monday Bedlam victory

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Oklahoma State men's basketball hadn't won a game at Lloyd Noble in a decade, and it wasn't going to happen on Monday night. No. 23 Oklahoma bucked the No. 8 Cowboys 88-76 before a crowd of more than 11,000.

Sophomore forward Ryan Spangler drove the Sooners with 15 points and 17 boards. That makes the ninth double-double of the season for Spangler. He said his rebounding philosophy is simple.

SCOOPHD: SOONERS TAKE 'BIG MONDAY' BEDLAM SHOWDOWN

video by Eddie Radosevich

"I just try to out-hustle people," he said. "I think my teammates put me in the right position to get the ball, and right now they're falling in my hands right now the way I want them to. Some games they're going to be hard to get, but lately they've been easy."

The Pokes are the third team with a ranking of No. 12 or better the Sooners have dispatched in the last month. The game was chippy even before tip-off. 22 minutes before both teams took to center court, there was heckling.

OU fans were giving the Pokes the business. Earlier still, when the Cowboys first walked onto the court, a full and white-clad student section collectively booed the visitors.

OU's collegiate population was on its feet even before the game began.

Television cameras were all around. The pyrotechnics were in full effect.

Tim Hardaway Sr. was on hand for the game, and former Sooner Blake Griffin graced the video board for the team introductions.

Bedlam basketball was back at Lloyd Noble.

And it began with a bang -- two in fact. There was the bang that came from OSU guard Markel Brown acrobatic lay-up. Then there was the bang that came when a Spangler dunk sparked the crowd with the Sooners down 10-7 and 15:46 left in the first half.

After Spangler's rim-rocker ignited the Sooner offense, the fellas from Norman threw some coal on the fire.

The Sooners rode a 14-2 scoring run into their first lead of the game and managed to take a 46-38 lead into halftime with their bench playing the latter 10 minutes of the first half.

"I thought our guys opened the game with good energy and enthusiasm and gained a little bit of a margin there early on, which they kind of played with for the rest of the night," said OU coach Lon Kruger.

When Spangler was put on the bench after picking up his second foul, junior D.J. Bennett and senior Tyler Neal picked up the slack.

Neal led the Sooners in the first half with 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting. He finished with 15 points and will end his career undefeated at home against the Pokes.

"It feels good to not have lost to them here," Neal said. "We're excited about the win as a team, and I'm proud of the guys."

Bennett made his presence known underneath the rim almost immediately after he was subbed in. He had two points, two boards, and two blocks in his first two minutes on the floor.

The Cowboys played with a short deck in the first half too with point guard Marcus Smart only playing just six minutes in the half, and forward Le'Bryan Nash playing just eight. But sophomore 2-guard Phil Forte and senior guard Markel Brown picked the Pokes up 11 each in the first 20 minutes.

When the second half began though, the Sooners had Mr. Momentum sitting on their end of the bench. A partisan crowd gave them a lift for the first time all year, and freshman Jordan Woodard was taking advantage of it.

Woodard had missed both of his shot attempts in the first half and scored just one point. Within in the first five minutes of the second half, he scored eight points, including one 3-pointer as the shot clock wound down.

Down the stretch Woodard drove to the basket and earned called fouls. He hit 9-of-13 from the charity stripe and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. He finished as the Sooners' leading scorer with 18 points.

"I just kept finding spots, and my teammates kept finding me with the ball, and they just wanted me to shoot it when I was open," Woodard said. "I just really wanted to keep attacking."

With 1:33 left to play and the Sooners up 83-73, chants of "Lit-tle bro-ther" began to ring from the student section. Later, it was a chant of "Just Like Foot-Ball."

"You saw two good teams out there tonight," said OSU coach Ford. "One played very well, and one didn't."



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