In one of the biggest upsets in college basketball in the 2013-14 season and easily the most important moment of head coach Lon Kruger's Oklahoma Sooners' career, his OU basketball team knocked off previously unbeaten Iowa State Cyclones on Jan. 11, 87-82.
After opening the season with only one loss to the highly ranked Michigan State Spartans, the Sooners came into this home game with the undefeated, and 10th ranked Cyclones, with major questions. Since that hot start, the Sooners had dropped two of their three games since the Christmas break, one to Louisiana Tech and the second to Kansas, and people questioned their defense.
OU and Iowa State were almost identical offensively, tied for fifth best in the nation. However OU's defense ranked 183rd in the nation while Iowa State sat at a nice 23rd. In this game, it was the Sooners who showed up to play and they proved that the poll voters who have ignored and dismissed them all season might want to reconsider.
Iowa State, undefeated and coming off a big win over the seventh ranked Baylor Bears, might have been overlooking the Sooners. That was a mistake. The teams went into the half tied at 39 and then Oklahoma made the stops they needed in the second half and outscored Iowa State, 48-43 in that period to hand the Cyclones their first loss of the season.
"In the second half there, we got two or three stops we really needed," Kruger said. "We've been trying to learn how to do that."
Four Oklahoma Sooners basketball players scored in double digits, led by Buddy Hield's 22 points. Ryan Spangler added a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds, seven on offense and eight on defense. Cameron Clark added 12 and Isaiah Cousins finished with 17.
As for that weaker Sooners' defense, OU out-rebounded Iowa State 41-34 and also finished with five steals and Spangler finished with two blocks. Overall, it was a statement game by the Oklahoma Sooners.
"Buddy (Hield) was knocking down shots. Ryan (Spangler), I thought, was really key in the ball game," Kruger said. "He didn’t have a whole lot going on offensively but he just kept getting the ball back on the offensive boards and fighting like crazy, which is no big surprise. He has done that all year. I’m happy for the guys. It was a good win over a really good team and another tough one lies ahead.”
The Oklahoma Sooners basketball teams next game is Tuesday night, Jan. 14, against the 25th ranked Kansas State Wildcats and next Saturday they face seventh ranked Baylor.