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February 22, 2014

Sooners rout Kansas State 86-73

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Well, the week off didn't hurt Oklahoma at all.

The treys fell early, fell often for the Sooners in their 86-73 victory against Kansas State for their 20th win this season. Five Sooners sunk at least one shot from beyond the arc while four ended the game with at least 10 points.

One of the best 3-point field goal defense teams in the country walked into Lloyd Noble and was lit up from beyond the arc by the Sooners. OU hit 10-of-23 3-pointers against Bruce Weber squad.

Those were Jordan Woodard (10), Cameron Clark (11), Isaiah Cousins (17) and Buddy Hield (18).


Clark scored just two points against KSU in Manhattan, Kan., last month and Cousins was held scoreless last Saturday against Oklahoma State. Cousins, in particular, was happy to have found his scoring touch again.

"It just helped my confidence to keep playing, keep being aggressive," Cousins said.

While Hield led the Sooners in scoring and hit the most 3-pointers of any Sooner (3), he was also one of four players to drop at least three dimes. 18 of the Sooners 28 buckets were assisted.

The Sooners committed just eight turnovers on Saturday. That's a 2.25 assist-to-turnover ratio.

OU's eight steals accounted for more than half of Kansas State's 13 turnovers, and they scored 19 points off turnovers.

The Sooners also won the battle of the boards 32-28 against a large and physical KSU squad. Clark finished with a game-high eight rebounds.

"I think we did a great job on the glass," Clark said. "Just everybody going, me especially, just trying to box out my man and just get the bounce and get a rebound."

A Marcus Foster 3-pointer gave Kansas State a 3-0 lead to begin the game, but that was as close as the Wildcats would come to winning on Saturday.

The Sooners mounted a 21-2 scoring run in the midst of the first half. OU's catching fire allowed them to extend their lead to 25 after sophomore Ryan Spangler drained a jumper with 3:27 left in the half.

"I'd say it's an understatement that we caught them on a day where they were ready to go," Weber said.

Every Sooner who logged minutes against Kansas State in the first 20 minutes scored. Every KSU player who played minutes in the first half also scored, but they combined for just 22 points.

The Sooners led 41-22 when both teams jogged out of the locker room to start the second half. That brought on more of the same.

OU mounted a 7-2 scoring run to start the second half and blew its lead out to 27 points midway through it.

With just a couple minutes left to play though, that lead was down to 11 points when Foster started knocking down shots. Foster scored 21 points on an efficient 8-of-15 shooting, including 4-of-7 from deep range.

His play was about all that went right for the Wildcats who have dropped their last six games on the road.

Wildcats Thomas Gipson and Nino Williams gave Kansas State the edge in the lane. KSU outscored OU 32-20 in the paint, but the Sooners were able to hold their lead until the end by earning trips to the foul line.

Spangler's ability to set solid screens on the perimeter was one of the bigger reasons the Sooner guards were able to continuously drive toward the basket effectively.

"I thought Ryan was great a setting really good screens in the first half," OU coach Lon Kruger said. "Sounds like a small thing, but you have to set a good screen against Kansas State. I thought he did a great job of getting these guys open."

The Sooners hit 20-of-26 free throws with Woodard accounting for four of them. His four made free throws helped tie him with former Sooners Wayman Tisdale and Jeff Webster for made free throws in a season (134). With his next made free throw, Woodard will hold the record alone.

For the Sooners, this routing of Kansas State was one of the most complete games they've played since league play began and not a game too soon.

In just a couple days time, OU travels to Lawrence, Kan., to take on the class of the conference. Against Kansas, the Sooners will have a chance to find out if their best is good enough to beat the best in their house.

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