NORMAN — Oklahoma’s Cameron Clark has played like a senior this season. The experience has made him one of the 25th-ranked Sooners’ pillars.
But he experienced something completely new in Tuesday’s 72-66 loss at Kansas State. He was targeted from the opening tip by the Wildcats. They were not going to let him get into an offensive rhythm. He was double-teamed anytime he caught a pass within 15 feet of the basket. A Wildcat was in his chest anytime he had the ball within 25 feet of the goal.
The result was a two-point effort on 1-of-9 shooting from the field.
“No. 1 scorer in the Big 12, you’re going to have that. I’m not really worried about the scoring,” Clark said. “I didn’t do what I needed to do personally. I feel like I could’ve helped my team out more on the defensive end, just rebounding. I’ve got to work on more things if my shot’s not falling.”
That can be said for just about all of OU’s roster. Outside of Ryan Spangler, who scored 21 points and pulled down 14 rebounds, there wasn’t really a standout. The next best were freshman guard Frank Booker and senior forward Tyler Neal. They combined for 16 points off the bench and made four of OU’s seven 3-pointers.
Buddy Hield scored 12 points, but was held scoreless in the second half. Isaiah Cousins scored seven points. Jordan Woodard was limited to five and spent most of the second half on the bench. Kruger decided backup point guard Je’lon Hornbeak was a better option in the final minutes.
But none of those players are seniors. Clark believes how he plays sets the tone for the rest and there’s nothing to dispute that notion.
If he’s not scoring, he has to find other ways to positively impact the game. The six rebounds in 23 minutes coupled with two assists, two turnovers a blocked shot and a steal were not enough.