NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma (10-1) found itself in a dogfight against UT-Arlington on Tuesday night inside Lloyd Noble Center.
With the crowd on its feet and owning a two-point lead, the Sooners watched the Mavericks' Brandon Edwards erase the deficit with two free throws that forced Lon Kruger to use a timeout to corral his players.
A couple of Sooner scoring droughts and UTA's efficient shooting kept the Mavericks in the hunt for a potential upset, but senior leadership and poise helped OU through.
Senior Cameron Clark took his team-leading scoring hands to the courtesy line after an aggressive foul and drained the courtesy shots needed to best UTA, 91-89, while the defense snuffed out a potential scoring drive in the waning seconds to set up a last second ditch by Edwards.
"Just knocking down those free throws," said Clark, asked about what he was thinking when heading to the line in a tie game. "I wasn’t really paying attention to the crowd or anything like that. My team needed me and I was able to knock down two free throws.”
The exhale from the Sooner bench was just as loud as the roar of the LNC crowd as UTA threw up a desperation shot with 2.1 seconds on the clock that rimmed out, allowing OU to tab its tenth win of the season to just one loss.
"Well, it’s not like we were in a position to make them do anything," said OU head coach Lon Kruger. "It’s just a matter of making them shoot a guarded shot, is the hope. We expected it to go inside coming out of the huddle. You can get up and pressure 3’s at that point a little bit easier. We didn’t talk about either one. We just wanted to guard the ball, switch ball screens, contest shooters without fouling, those types of things. Just basic stuff.”
Clark finished 11-of-18, going well above his 17.7 point-per-game average by finishing with 31 points against the Mavericks. Clark's clutch shots propelled the Sooners to the win, especially after conceding double-digit leads in both halves of the game.