- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 14, 2014

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - Cameron Clark hasn’t faced much difficulty in carrying a potent Oklahoma offense this season. After all, he had been averaging better than 18 points per game.

He ran into plenty of trouble against the Big 12’s best defense on Tuesday night.

Marcus Foster scored 18 points, Nino Williams made four clinching free throws in the closing seconds and Kansas State held on to beat No. 25 Oklahoma 72-66.

Clark was held to just two points on 1-for-9 shooting, and was stripped of the ball with 24.5 seconds left and the Sooners trailing 67-64, allowing the Wildcats to hold on from the free throw line down the stretch.

“Cam just has to let it go,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “We’re in Big 12 play and people are going to point to him and target him. He’s just got to stay aggressive. He turned down some shots early and tried to get closer. Those are shots that he shoots really well.

Shane Southwell added 16 points for the Wildcats (13-4, 3-1), who rallied from a 62-56 deficit with just over 5 minutes to play to turn back the Sooners who moved into the Top 25 for the first time this season Monday.

Ryan Spangler had a career-high 21 points and 14 rebounds, and Buddy Hield scored 12 points for Oklahoma (13-4, 2-2), but it wasn’t enough to offset Clark’s off night.

Clark scored 32 points in the Big 12 opener against Kansas on Jan. 8, but has followed up the performance with just 14 total points against Iowa State and Kansas State.

“It was a tough game,” Kruger said. “I thought down the stretch, K-State did some good things. They made shots when they needed to, got loose balls, and got second chance opportunities. We did not convert on our end.”

Clark’s turnover forced Oklahoma to foul, and Williams made both free throws. Je’lon Hornbeak missed a 3-pointer at the other end and the Sooners fouled Williams, and again he knocked down both foul shots to help seal the game.

Wesley Iwundu added 11 points for Kansas State while Williams and Will Spradling finished with 10 points apiece.

The Sooners, the highest-scoring team in the Big 12, got the up-and-down game they wanted in the first half. The only problem was that Kansas State, which tends to struggle offensively but is the league’s best on defense, was knocking down shots from all over the court.

The Wildcats hit 3-pointers on five straight trips midway through the first half. Foster had the first three, thumping his chest on his way back to the bench after the last of them.

“They made shots,” Kruger said. “They’ve got good players and they can do that. We’ve got to guard them a little better and get a hand up a little bit.”

Kansas State eventually pushed its lead to 28-19 on Iwundu’s 3-pointer before the Sooners started to find some success in the paint. Isaiah Cousins’ driving layup started an 18-5 run over the next 7 minutes, capped by Hield’s basket for a 37-33 lead.

The Wildcats answered with a 3 by Southwell, and Spradling was fouled just before the halftime buzzer and made three free throws to give Kansas State a 39-38 lead.

Oklahoma slowly took control in the second half as the Wildcats cooled off.

“It got physical,” Spangler said. “We were not hitting shots that we normally hit outside so Coach Kruger put in an offense to get us going inside. I got some easy looks just battling in there.”

Spangler’s three-point play with 6½ minutes left gave the Sooners a 58-56 lead, and a breezy jumper by Cousins from just inside the 3-point arc extended the lead with about 5 minutes to play.

Once more, Kansas State clawed right back.

Big man Thomas Gipson stuck back a miss by Southwell for his first field goal with 2:59 left in the game to knot it 63-all. Foster then buried a 3-pointer from right in front of Kansas State coach Bruce Weber to give the Wildcats a 66-63 lead.

They managed to hold onto the lead through a tense closing stretch.

“I told the team, ‘They’re a team of runs,’” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. “We started the game great on defense. They were struggling and we didn’t get as far out as we should have. They made the run, we made the run, they made the run, and we were just fortunate at the end to make the run that gave us the victory.”

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