The Norman Transcript

Sports

January 28, 2014

Kruger has team clicking and winning

NORMAN — There was 6:11 remaining when Oklahoma point guard Jordan Woodard, realizing only seconds remained on the shot clock, had to settle for a 3-point try from the top of the key.

He missed, but underneath, Ryan Spangler, the under-sized in-state product who stands only 6-foot-8 yet plays a center’s game, kind of like Alvan Adams come to think of it, out-dueled, just maybe, the nation’s best player, Marcus Smart, for the rebound.

One of his amazing 17 boards, Spangler went back up, made it and, fouled by Smart, went to the free-throw line and made that one, too.

It put the Sooners up 13 points. Also, given the lateness of its happening, not to mention the guy he out-fought for the ball and the hoop, it seemed like a humongous stand-alone signature play. In many other games it might have been.

Only here’s the thing about Monday night’s Bedlam game inside Lloyd Noble Center. On the way to their 88-76 victory, the Sooners made what seemed like 15 plays like that. Heck, they made three or four after that.

It’s an amazing thing.

It was Big Monday on ESPN. It was a big-time game, No. 8 visiting No. 23. It was Bedlam and that’s always big. And it was a big-time crowd, a sell-out, clad in provided white. And the Sooners made sure it was a big-time team living up to the moment. 

It was a  night that made maybe the greatest hyperbole ever uttered by OU athletic director Joe Castlglione — spoken the day Lon Kruger was introduced at the old field house: that Kruger’s teams would fill the joint “every single game” and “OU men’s basketball is on the way to the top in the United States of America” — seem downright possible.

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