Oklahoma's rally comes up short in 69-67 loss to Washington
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Lon Kruger's return to Las Vegas was a disappointing one.
No. 15 Oklahoma got off to a slow start and lost 69-67 to No. 16 Washington on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Showcase. Kruger coached UNLV for seven seasons before taking over the Sooners in 2011.
The Huskies (10-0) led by as many as 20 in the first half, but only scored three points in the final 4:01 of the game. Jordan Woodard had a look at a potential winning jumper for the Sooners (7-3), but it rattled out and Andrew Andrews grabbed the rebound for Washington.
Isaiah Cousins and Buddy Hield led Oklahoma with 17 points apiece. Ryan Spangler had 11 points and 13 rebounds, and TaShawn Thomas had 11 points.
"We see one bucket go in and we're going to start playing good," Spangler said. "I don't think we played good in the first half, but in the second half, our rhythm; we kind of did what we wanted."
Jernard Jarreau had 12 points for Washington, and Mike Anderson and Robert Upshaw each scored 11. Upshaw, the nation's leading shot blocker, also swatted two shots.
"At the outset of the season, I talked about being sneaky old, but we have some guys that hadn't played college basketball for one game," Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said. "When you are in a position like this, if you are together and have a belief in one another, you are capable of pulling off something we've been able to do."
Washington raced out to a 37-17 lead and led 40-27 at the break. The Sooners shot 37 percent (12 for 32) in the first half.
But Oklahoma came out strong in the second half. Thomas made two foul shots to trim the Huskies' lead to 66-64 with 3:40 to go.
Upshaw missed two free throws with 1:22 remaining, and Thomas made a jumper from the right side to get Oklahoma within one with 59 seconds left. After Andrews and Woodard each missed, Andrews made a foul shot with 1 second left to account for the final margin.
"Credit Washington; good play out of them," Kruger said. "But in the last five minutes of the first half, we turned the momentum a little bit. We played much better in the second half. There's a lot to learn. We had a poor (first) 15 minutes, but a good last 25."
Washington: The Huskies shot 49 percent from the field and outrebounded the Sooners 36-35. ... Nigel Williams-Goss had eight points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals. ... Washington's reserves outscored Oklahoma's backups 24-4.
Oklahoma: It was the Sooners' first trip to Las Vegas since January 1989, when they upset then-No. 13 UNLV. The Sooners are 3-5 in Las Vegas.
Washington hosts Tulane on Monday.
Oklahoma hosts Weber State on Monday.
Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and country music singer Toby Keith were courtside. Abdul-Jabbar held a halftime press conference about surviving cancer and basketball in general. Meanwhile, Keith was cheering on his Sooners.