Hield leads No. 16 Oklahoma past TCU
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) Buddy Hield broke out of his slump to help Oklahoma remain a strong contender for the Big 12 title.
Hield had 21 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, and the 16th-ranked Sooners rallied to beat TCU 67-60 on Saturday. The Big 12’s leading scorer had made just 7 of 29 field goals the previous two games. He went 6 for 11 against the Horned Frogs, including majking three 3-pointers.
He said he went through his usual routine to get his game going again.
”You know, just stay in the gym, just stay up late like I usually do when I get in slumps,” Hield said. ”I just shoot the ball, and I just basically sleep there (in the gym), just trying to find my rhythm. It’s good for me to come out of the slump today and just shoot the ball with confidence.”
TaShawn Thomas had 15 points and eight rebounds and Ryan Spangler and Isaiah Cousins each added 10 points for the Sooners (20-8, 11-5 Big 12), who have won eight of nine. The Sooners entered the day one game behind league leader Kansas, and they play at Iowa State on Monday before hosting Kansas in the regular-season finale. Win both, and the Sooners will have at least a share of their first regular-season conference title since 2005.
”We’ve been talking about that a lot as a whole team and with the coaches and just with the players,” Thomas said. ”But right now, I feel like we just need to focus on Monday you know, going to Ames (Iowa) and just trying to get a win there, and then we can worry about Kansas. But right now, we just need to focus on Iowa State.”
The Sooners have struggled through their past three wins. They had to rally to beat Texas, then they went to overtime with Texas Tech, then came back to beat TCU.
”I feel like it’s kind of a good thing that we play games like this and we come out of it,” Thomas said. ”Nobody wants to lose, at the same time, but when you know that you fought hard through a strong game to get the win, you feel even better.”
Kyan Anderson and Trey Zeigler each scored 16 points for TCU (17-12, 4-12), which had won three of four. The Horned Frogs have lost six straight on the road.
Oklahoma trailed most of the second half before Thomas’ layup put the Sooners up 58-56. Thomas followed it up with a dunk on Oklahoma’s next possession to push the lead to four. The Sooners made 6 of 6 free throws in the final 1:23 to remain in control.
”I thought we played well,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. ”I thought we played extremely hard until the last four minutes. I thought we were in position to win the game, and then they did a good job of getting to the free-throw line, and we didn’t, so, tip your hat to them.”
TCU broke away from a close game early and led by 12 before the Sooners staged a bit of a rally late in the first half to cut the Horned Frogs’ lead to 36-28 at the break. Anderson scored 11 points in the first half and made 3 of 5 3-pointers. TCU had seven offensive rebounds and 10 second-chance points in the first 20 minutes.
TCU: Amric Fields, a senior from nearby Oklahoma City, had five points and five rebounds. … The Horned Frogs arrived by train in Norman at 1 a.m. Saturday after the bus company scheduled to take them wouldn’t make the trip because of weather. … TCU committed just four turnovers in the first half.
Oklahoma: Forwards Thomas and Spangler each played the last part of the first half with two fouls, but Spangler committed just one the rest of the way, and Thomas didn’t commit any. … Oklahoma’s bench scored just three points.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
TCU coach Trent Johnson: ”We were able to get into the lane and where we needed to be, but we just didn’t finish plays.”
Oklahoma made just 12 of 21 free throws in the game before making 6 of 6 in the final 1:23.
TCU: At Oklahoma State on Wednesday.
Oklahoma: At Iowa State on Monday.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP .