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December 16, 2012

Clark provides much-needed spark for Sooners’ win vs. Aggies

OKLAHOMA CITY — Early in the second half, the basketball equivalent of a quagmire had taken over Oklahoma’s meeting with Texas A&M in the All-College Classic. Shots weren’t falling and turnovers were piling up at a rapid pace.

Cameron Clark broke the Sooners out of the rut in Saturday’s 64-54 victory over the Aggies at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The junior forward — almost single-handedly — ignited a 10-0 run that put OU in motion.

“Cam’s activity was fantastic,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “He had a really good week of practice. He was attacking. He knocked down a couple of jumpers and got the rim a couple of times. He worked really hard defensively.”

For the first time this season, he left the impression he could be the Sooners’ best player. His 17 points were the most in more than a year and the first time he has cracked double digits this season.

“It was a good game. It was about time, which is what I would say,” Clark said.

The Sooners (7-2) had to have it. Forward Romero Osby led them with a game-high 19 points. Steven Pledger added 10, was limited to 21 minutes due to early foul trouble.

Starters Amath M’Baye, Isaiah Cousins and Je’lon Hornbeak were a combined 0-for-13 from the field with two points.

Obviously, OU’s bench picked up the slack. Freshman guard Buddy Hield added 12 points to help the Sooners’ bench outscore the Aggies’ reserves, 33-13.

However, it was more than energy that OU got off its bench. Kruger played Clark, who was named the event’s MVP, at the power forward spot. There was a size disadvantage, but he was able to beat Texas A&M post players Kourtney Roberson and Ray Turner away from the basket.

“When Cameron Clark came in and played a 4, or something that he hadn’t done a whole lot of this year and make shots like he made, that makes a tough match up,” Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy said.

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