Bedlam basketball: OU's Ryan Spangler maintained the serious face from start to finish

Spangler never dropped his game face. Not when it was obvious OU would continue its Bedlam supremacy over Oklahoma State at the Lloyd Noble Center. Not when coach Lon Kruger took out Spangler in the final seconds. Not when the final buzzer sounded on an 88-76 win.
by Jenni Carlson Published: January 27, 2014

NORMAN — Ryan Spangler never dropped his game face.

Not when it was obvious Oklahoma would continue its Bedlam supremacy over Oklahoma State at the Lloyd Noble Center.

Not when coach Lon Kruger took out Spangler in the final seconds to a rousing and warranted ovation from the Sooner faithful.

Not when the final buzzer sounded on an 88-76 win.

Only during a celebratory lap around the court — and a few high fives with some giddy, goofy Sooner football players in attendance —  did the serious give way to a smile. The hard became happy.

On a night when the Sooners continued to assert themselves as a serious player in the Big 12 basketball race while putting the Cowboys in an almost impossible position to win the league, no one had more of a say in the outcome than Spangler. He notched his league-leading ninth double-double of the season. He had 15 points, but even more impressive, he had a career-high 17 rebounds.

Felt like 47.

And he did that despite playing only 25 minutes. Foul trouble sidelined him in the first half, and while D.J. Bennett and Co. filled in admirably, they are no substitute for Spangler.

Check out this insane statistic: Spangler has had at least 14 rebounds in four of the last six games.

“Things are just fallin' my way,” Spangler said, then broke into one of those grins that was absent on the court. “No, I'm just kiddin'.

“Hustle. I just try to outhustle people. I think that'll put me in the right position to get the ball. Right now, they're fallin' in my hands.”

That might undersell what Spangler is doing. Yes, Monday night he was going against a depleted Cowboy frontline. Michael Cobbins is gone, Kamari Murphy is fighting an uphill battle, and try as they might, undersized guys such as LeBryan Nash and Leyton Hammonds can only do so much in the post.

But Spangler absolutely ate up the Cowboys.

Nash took the brunt of it. The swingman has been on a good run lately, but he found tough sledding when he drove to the basket and managed only eight points on four shots. What's more, Spangler helped force Nash into foul trouble that would ultimately limit him to 17 minutes.


by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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