Oklahoma basketball notebook: North Dakota State coach Saul Phillips praises Kruger

In the first 38 minutes of Thursday night’s game against Oklahoma, North Dakota State dominated. But with less than two minutes to go, OU was ahead. NDSU coach Saul Phillips credited Lon Kruger for figuring out how to keep OU in the game.
by Berry Tramel and Ryan Aber Published: March 21, 2014
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Phillips wasn’t done with his praise for Kruger.

“He did something tonight, how about this, you talk about good coaching,” Phillips said. “I hadn’t even thought of this. Thirty-nine seconds left in the first half, we score, the clock runs, he tells his guy not to inbound until there’s 35 seconds to go and I’m thinking to myself we’re in trouble because I never even thought of doing something like that. I got to put that in my playbook. I learned something from Lon tonight.”

CLARK GOES OUT BIG

After the game, Oklahoma senior Cam Clark reflected on his career with the Sooners.

“It was great. I learned a lot from the University of Oklahoma,” Clark said. “Coach did a great job of coaching me. I feel like he’s the best coach I ever had. And it’s been a great four years.

“Just looking back on it, I loved playing with these guys and I’m just looking for them to do great things in the future.”

While Clark’s career ended with a loss, he went out in fine form.

Clark had 25 points, with all but three coming in the second half and overtime.

PHYSICAL GAME TAKES ITS TOLL

Several North Dakota State players walked off the court following their win bloodied and/or bruised.

“Down low it was almost like a bar fight,” Bison forward Marshall Bjorklund said.

“So you hear,” Phillips interjected.

Bjorklund said Ryan Spangler made it tough for the Bison on the inside.

“Spangler was a great — he’s a good player, very physical,” Bjorklun said. “We knew that coming in. Just the whole game the refs were kind of letting us play and so we kind of played like that to our favor and we have dealt with games like that all year.

“The whole way through, man, it was physical.”

QUOTABLE

“When Carlin (Dupree) plays basketball, somebody’s band is going to be playing, okay? Sometimes it’s yours, sometimes it’s theirs.” — Phillips, on Dupree’s contributions in overtime, which included a pair of free throws and a layup that put the Bison up for good.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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by Ryan Aber
Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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