Oklahoma is back in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2009 after eliminating Dayton from the NCAA tournament on Sunday 72-66 in front of a hostile crowd in Columbus, Ohio.
Coach Lon Kruger became the first coach in history to take four teams to the second weekend of the tournament. He previously guided UNLV, Florida and Kansas State to the Sweet 16.
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Buddy Hield, the Sooners’ star guard, might have saved the day for Oklahoma with 64 seconds remaining when he recovered from a Dayton steal to swat away a layup attempt from Darrell Davis. If Davis had made the layup, the Flyers would have cut the Oklahoma lead to two with a minute left and significantly amped up the pressure on the Sooners.
Oklahoma simply had too much for Dayton, which was playing its sixth game in 10 days. The Flyers were trying to get back to the Sweet 16 for a second straight year after not advancing that far for three decades. But Hield and fellow guards Jordan Woodard and Frank Booker combined for 43 points.
Forward Ryan Spangler has rebounded from a painful moment in the Big 12 tournament to play well in the NCAA tournament. Spangler scored nine points with 11 rebounds in a first-round win over Albany and had six points and 12 rebounds on Sunday.
In the closing seconds of a Big 12 conference tournament semifinal game against Iowa State, Spangler missed a wide-open layup that would have tied the game and sent it to overtime.
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