Oklahoma will advance to the Final Four for the first time since 2002 after beating No. 1 Oregon 80-68 in the Elite Eight.
Buddy Hield a.k.a Buddy Buckets showed up game ready, not wasting any time to tally eight points in the opening minutes to give the Sooners a slight advantage.
Hield only got hotter, sinking his third three-pointer six minutes into the half, helping OU to a 15-7 lead. The three put him at 2,256 career points, tying him for second place in Big 12 history.
At this point, I’m sure many were wondering what advice Kobe Bryant offered up during him and Hield’s after game talk Thursday night.
A layup from Spangler midway through the half made him the first Sooner besides Hield and Khadeem Lattin to score.
On the other end, Oregon was getting out hustled, out rebounded and creating too many turnovers, leading the Sooners to easy second-chance baskets.
With 7:50 left before intermission, Hield had 11 points, Lattin and Dante Buford had four, Jordan Woodard had three and Spangler had two. Woodard soon recorded another six with another three and three free throws soon after.
Before halftime, Isaiah Cousins struck fire for eight quick points with two threes and a fast break dunk.
Going into the locker room, the Sooners carried a 48-30 advantage.
FG %: OU- 50 % (18-36), Oregon- 39.1 % (9-23)
3FG %: OU- 64.3 % (9-14), Oregon- 20 % (2-10)
FT %: OU- 100 % (3-3), Oregon- 71 .4 % (10-14)
Points In Point: OU- 16, Oregon- 14
Points Off Turnovers: OU- 12, Oregon- 6
Second Chance Points: OU- 15, Oregon- 4
Fast Break Points: OU- 4, Oregon- 2
Bench Points: OU- 4, Oregon- 3
The Ducks opened the second half with attempts to cut their deficit but the Sooners kept rolling, advancing their lead 59-44 six minutes into the final.
Heild's ten made field goals were more than the entire Oregon starting five (12).
At the 10:04 mark, Hield had 28 points and the Ducks were in the bonus.
Oregon showed some life midway through the half by forcing misses on seven of eight consecutive OU attempts and trimming its deficit to 12 (with 7:58 on the clock).
Hield soon elevated to 30 points, tying him with Tim McCalister for third most in OU history (2,275). This was his 12th game with at least 30 points this season, the same number as the entire Big 12 combined and the most in Big 12 history.
In the final stretch, the Sooners locked in to win 80-68 and advance to the Final Four.
“God is good,” said Hield in excitement after the game. He then joked that he better see the fans when he and his team bid for a chance to play in the championship game.
Hield finished with 37 points, the most in an Elite Eight game since 1990 and the most threes (8) by an OU player in the NCAA Tournament.
“He’s been great all year,” said OU head coach Lon Kruger. “He’s about his teammates and he’s about his team."
The Sooners will now face Villanova.