Dean's Blog: Sooners Survive And Advance
COLUMBUS, Ohio - NCAA win number one in the books, 69-60. OU's win over Albany is the first NCAA win for every team member and for Head Coach Lon Kruger at Oklahoma.
There's a reason OU was a 13-point favorite in their NCAA opener with Albany. They had better players. And better coaching. True to form, the Sooners handled the Great Danes, winning by nine, but never being threatened after Isaiah Cousins drained a late possession 3 to make it 63-54 with 3:08 remaining.
OU led wire to wire and was able to take advantage of an inside size advantage going to senior transfer TaShawn Thomas early and often en route to an impressive night: 18 points on 7 of 11 shooting, 5 rebounds, four blocks, two assists and no turnovers.
Ryan Spangler bounced back from being devastated after missing a potential game-tying lay-up in Kansas City against Iowa State in the Big 12 semfifinals to almost record a double-double: 9 points and 9 rebounds. OU outrebounded the Danes 40-34.
Buddy Hield scored 15 points but continued his shooting struggles making only 6 of 16 shots. Hield continues to be soft at the rim, missing on three opportunities when Coach Lon Kruger has coached him to attack with more authority.
Frank Booker hit a pair of threes and finished with 8 points but was again consistently out of control on dribble drives.
The Sooners felt if they shot it fairly well they'd be hard to beat by an overmatched foe. They shot 43.9 percent for the game while the Danes hit on 37.7 percent.
Kruger becomes the first coach to win an NCAA game at five different schools.
A good win and solid performance. But just as the competition will surely pick up on Sunday at 5:10 CST, the Sooners will need to pick it up some as well.