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December 2, 2013

Early run sends Sooners past Bears

NORMAN — Oklahoma’s hot shooting extended to Monday night with its 96-82 victory over Mercer at Lloyd Noble Center.

It was supposed to be one those surprise tests OU faces every season. Mercer wasn’t a scheduled victory as much as it was an RPI builder. The Bears went 24-12 last season, won the Atlantic Sun Conference and returned just about all of its team intact. This season it had already taken Texas to the wire and beaten Seton Hall.

It was a tight game for a little over 4 minutes. Then OU hit Mercer with a 14-0 run out of the first media timeout and never looked back.

“We got them to miss a couple shots and that got the pacing going. We stirred it up with a couple traps during that stretch,” OU coach Lon Kruger. “Once the pace got going, we got into a pretty good offensive flow.”

That might have been an understatement. The Sooners (6-1) upped their season scoring average to 88.7 points through seven games. When scoring more than 77 points, they’re undefeated.

There was little chance of scoring less because OU put together several runs like the one it unleashed a little over 4 minutes into the game.

The oddity of the game was Mercer (5-4) was the biggest team OU has faced this season. They consistently had 6-foot-10 center Daniel Coursey and 6-11 center Monty Brown on Spangler. Neither could keep up with the 6-8 post, who burned them for a career-high 20 points to go with 13 rebounds.

“They were big, but I just tried to use my quickness,” said Spangler, who recorded a double-double in his second straight game. “Usually, I can get around guys if I just use my quickness.”

Spangler had 13 points and six rebounds in the first half. The effort helped give OU to a 13-point halftime lead. An 18-0 run to start the second half put the game away.

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