NORMAN — Cameron Clark tuned everything out and tried to focus on his task - make two free throws to help Oklahoma stave off an upset bid by Texas-Arlington.
As he did most of Tuesday night, he succeeded. His free throws with 9.7 seconds left capped a 31-point outing and proved to be the difference as the Sooners hung on for a 91-89 win, Oklahoma’s sixth straight.
Buddy Hield added 19 points for Oklahoma (10-1), which was prepping for a showdown with former Big 12 Conference rival Texas A&M on Saturday in Houston in the Big 12-SEC Challenge.
“It was a good win, a fortunate win,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “I thought UTA did a terrific job of hanging in there close enough all night long and making shots to keep within reach and catch us there late.
“It was a good opportunity for us to work on some things. We haven’t been in that late-game situation a lot - not that we wanted to be there - but as it turned out we were and I thought our guys handled both the defensive end and offensive end pretty well late.”
The Sooners have never lost to Texas-Arlington (4-7) in seven meetings but they never really asserted control over their Sun Belt Conference opponent Tuesday. Brandon Edwards’ 18-foot jumper at the buzzer rimmed out for the Mavericks, who tied season highs for 3-pointers with 13 in 32 attempts.
Reger Dowell, who spent three seasons at Oklahoma State before transferring to Texas-Arlington, scored 30 points for the Mavericks. Dowell entered the game with a 22.2-point scoring average, ranking him 13th in NCAA Division I.
Early on, Oklahoma looked like it would run away from the Mavericks, jumping to a 21-8 lead. Texas-Arlington answered with a 14-0 run - scoring eight points in 52 seconds before Kruger called a timeout. A steal and layup by Outler gave Texas-Arlington a 22-21 lead with 11:01 left in the half.
A tip-in by Spangler 19 seconds later put the Sooners back ahead and they never trailed again, although the Mavericks pulled even at 30-30 and were down only 45-41 at halftime.
Oklahoma gradually rebuilt its lead to 70-56 on a basket by Clark with 12:34 left, but the Mavericks recorded five straight 3-pointers - including two each by Dowell and Outler - and stayed close until their final rally.
Spangler had 16 points and eight rebounds for Oklahoma, while Jordan Woodard had 12 assists to go with seven points. Edwards finished with 12 points and seven rebounds for Texas-Arlington and Anthony Walker went 5 of 5 from the field and scored 11 points.