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SPORTS: University of Oklahoma

Clark Carries Sooners To Victory In Home Finale

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NORMAN, Oklahoma -

It was fitting that in his last game at Lloyd Noble Center, Cameron Clark would carry the Oklahoma Sooners.

Clark's steady hand and double-double helped the 23rd-ranked Sooners overcome a poor shooting night to take down West Virginia, 72-62, and maintain a firm grasp on second place in the Big 12.

Clark scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Sooners (22-8, 11-6 Big 12). He wasn't flashy and he wasn't otherworldly, but his play gave Oklahoma an opportunity to grab a win on a night when it was not at its best.

"It was great to see Cam finish like he did," OU coach Lon Kruger said. "What a great career and to have him have a double-double in the last home game and make shots we needed very badly, those are good memories there."

The Sooners finished the game shooting just 41.8 percent from the field, but Clark was an efficient 8-of-15 and made several key plays down the stretch that kept the Sooners in firm control.

"We got the win, so that's all I'm really focused on," Clark said. "My teammates and coaches helped me go out there and just be aggressive. I'm just glad I could play with them in my last home game of my career."

Buddy Hield was one of those who was struggling mightily shooting the ball. In the first half, Hield was just 0-for-4 and hit a single free throw. He missed his first three shots of the second half as well before the basket opened up and he buried four 3-pointers in the span of three and a half minutes.

"The coaching staff and players keep telling me to shoot it," Hield said. "It helps my confidence when they trust me shooting the basketball. I got some good looks and just knocked them down."

Hield only finished with 13 points—those 12 points were the only points he had in the second half—but they were important points, as the Sooners turned a 43-40 deficit with 11:47 remaining into a 63-50 lead with 4:28 remaining.

"I felt it coming," Hield said. "I was just focused in and took my time making the shots."

The run was aided by the Sooners finally knocking down open shots, but it began with defense. During the Sooners' 23-7 run, WVU went just 3-for-10 from the field and had three turnovers to boot.

Juwan Staten had 24 points to lead West Virginia (16-14, 8-9), but after torching the Sooners for 10 points in the first seven minutes of the game, Staten hit just 6-of-18 from the floor the rest of the game. Devin Williams had a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds while Gary Browne had 12 points off the bench. Eron Harris, who came into the game averaging 18 points, fouled out in 28 minutes with just five points.

To say the Sooners played poorly would be incorrect. Oklahoma played hard and moved the ball well, consistently getting open looks at the basket. The problem for the Sooners is that those shots simply wouldn't fall. Oklahoma shot 37.9 percent from the floor in the first half, but nine of its 11 baskets were assisted.

OU went into the locker room leading 33-28, but led by as many as 11, thanks to strong energy off the bench from Je'lon Hornbeak, who finished the game with 11 points. The sophomore guard entered with OU leading, 23-22, with 5:44 remaining in the first 20 minutes. Over the next three and a half minutes, Hornbeak racked up four points, two steals and an assist to key a 10-0 run that pushed the Sooner lead to 33-22 with 2:16 remaining.

"Je'lon has been a little bit more like we expected coming out of last year," Kruger said. "The last four or five ball games he is playing with the confidence that we need from him and we expect him to keep getting better."

Oklahoma finishes the regular season on Saturday when it travels to Fort Worth to take on TCU. The Horned Frogs are winless in Big 12 play this season, 0-17 to be exact. However, the Sooners' shocking loss there a year ago should be all the motivation OU needs to keep focused on the task at hand.

An OU win clinches the No. 2 seed in the Big 12 tournament for the Sooners.

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