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Oklahoma basketball: It wasn't just that the Sooners beat Iowa State, it was how they won

Buddy Hield and Isaiah Cousins kept knocking down 3-pointers, and Ryan Spangler kept getting offensive rebounds, and OU made most of the plays late to beat ninth-ranked Iowa State 87-82 Saturday at Lloyd Noble Center.
by Berry Tramel Published: January 11, 2014

The Sooners' defense this season has been shoddy. Desperation can cause many things. Maybe it caused the Sooners to buckle down.

“It was a game I'm sure they were talking about they had to win, and give them credit,” said Cyclone coach Fred Hoiberg. “They did that.”

Hield and Cousins were excellent. Hield scored 22 points, one shy of his career high. Cousins scored 17, his second-highest total as a Sooner. Hield made six of 12 3-pointers, Cousins three of six.

Iowa State entered the game leading the Big 12 with 9.1 3-pointers per game. In three OU-ISU games last season, the Cyclones outscored the Sooners 87-36 from beyond the arc.

Saturday, that advantage shifted to OU 39-18.

After Iowa State took a 41-39 lead on its first possession of the second half, OU heated up. On their next 11 possessions, the Sooners scored 22 points. Hield went 3-of-3 on 3-pointers and Cousins 2-of-2.

“They shot the heck out of the ball today,” Hoiberg said. “There's no doubt about it.”

And when the 3-pointers dried up midway through the second half, Spangler took over. He had eight rebounds, six of them offensive, in a 4 1/2-minutes stretch, leading to eight second-chance points for OU.

Meanwhile, the Cyclones' normally prolific shooting went cold. Iowa State ended up making just six of 26 3-pointers, but the 'Clones compensated by attacking the basket. Iowa State made 28 of 39 shots from inside the 3-point line.

Nothing worked for ISU in those final 2 1/2 minutes, leaving Kruger pleased with the victory and proud of the progress.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at