OU basketball: Sooner senior Tyler Neal prepared for position switch

OU coach Lon Kruger thought he might need to use Tyler Neal at point guard. As it turned out, he needed the 6-foot-7 senior in the middle after Ryan Spangler went down with an injury late in the first half. It was something Neal was well-prepared for.
by Ryan Aber Published: December 16, 2013


photo - Oklahoma's Tyler Neal (15) tries to get past Idaho's Glen Dean (1) as Oklahoma's D.J. Bennett (31) watches during a college basketball game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners and the Idaho Vandals at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla., on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma's Tyler Neal (15) tries to get past Idaho's Glen Dean (1) as Oklahoma's D.J. Bennett (31) watches during a college basketball game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners and the Idaho Vandals at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla., on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

NORMAN — Going into Saturday's game against Tulsa, Oklahoma basketball coach Lon Kruger thought he might need to use Tyler Neal at point guard.

As it turned out, he needed the 6-foot-7 senior in the middle after Ryan Spangler went down with an injury late in the first half.

It's something Neal was well-prepared for.

“I've always kind of had that thought process that the more positions you can play — the more you can help the team and when guys go down whatever happens, foul trouble or whatever — the more you can be out there,” Neal said. “In a way, that can be seen as selfish. But when something like this happens, it's really helpful.”

On a team short on depth, Neal's versatility is a valuable asset.

It could get tested again Tuesday, when Oklahoma hosts Texas-Arlington at 7 p.m. at Lloyd Noble Center.

Spangler is expected to play after suffering a calf injury in the win over the Golden Hurricane. He was held out of the contact portions of practice Monday.

When Neal was in the game in Spangler's place, he created a mismatch playing up top and took advantage by scoring 12 second-half points.

“We had that nice little ball screen working there,” Neal said. “We really utilized that. Jordan (Woodard) made some good plays for me. I just had open shots, and I just had to knock them down, which is what I did.”

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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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