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SPORTS: University of Oklahoma

Sooners Defeat Alabama To Open Season

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DALLAS, Texas -

The Oklahoma men's basketball team opened the 2013-14 season with an 82-73 win over Alabama Friday afternoon in the Buckets and Boots Showcase in Dallas.

The Sooners are a very young team, having lost five key players from last year's NCAA tournament team. The Sooners didn't play young against the Crimson Tide, overcoming a 16-point first half deficit to get the win.

Sophomore guard Buddy Hield led the Sooners in scoring with 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Sophomore Ryan Spangler, playing in his first game for the Sooners after transferring from Gonzaga a year ago, was very impressive inside, scoring 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.

Cameron Clark overcame a slow start to chip in with 14 points. Freshman Jordan Woodard started at point guard and had 10 points and seven assists against just two turnovers. He shot just 2-for-11 from the field, but directed the offense with more efficiency than his age would suggest.

Algie Key led Alabama with 20 points, while Retin Obasohan had 14 points. The Crimson Tide struggled with foul trouble throughout the game, and did a poor job of adjusting to the new college basketball rules.

Related Story: Oklahoma Basketball: Previewing The 2013-14 Sooners

The Sooners and Tide traded baskets to start the game, before Alabama went on a 20-4 run to take a 26-10 lead. The Sooners were ice-cold from the field, while allowing the Crimson Tide to get whatever they wanted at the basket. Alabama finished the first half with 12 layups.

Hield and Spangler led the Oklahoma charge back as the Sooners responded with a 22-5 run of their own, taking a 32-31 lead on a Woodard 3-pointer. Alabama regained the lead to go into the locker room up 41-40.

The second continued much the same way, as neither team led by more than six until a Cameron Clark 3-pointer pushed the OU lead to 65-58. Alabama cut the lead to a single point, 67-66 with a 3-pointer from Releford, but OU went on a 8-0 run over the next four minutes to put the game away.

It was an encouraging performance for the Sooners, particularly from Spangler and Hield, both of whom will be counted on to lead the Sooners offensively this season. While the Crimson Tide won't be contending for a national title this year, it was still a nice win for an Oklahoma team looking to establish confidence and chemistry early this season.

The only negative note for the Sooners came after the game, when coach Lon Kruger confirmed big man Keshaun Hamilton will transfer at the end of the semester.

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