Oklahoma was riding high following an emotional victory over Kansas on Saturday, and when they faced off against TCU just two days removed, it was a test of their fortitude. They passed. The Sooners cruised to 75-48 victory over the Horned Frogs, improving to 16-7 (7-4) on the season.
The Sooner defense was stellar out of the gate, holding the Horned Frogs without a field goal for the first 11 minutes of the game. Oklahoma, behind a pair of three point baskets from an unlikely Tyler Neal, opened up an 18-3 lead. TCU responded with a small 5-point spurt, coming within ten, but that was as close as it got. Plagued by their stagnant offensive start, they never again broke the double digit barrier.
With 2:20 in the first half, Romero Osby hit a layup to give the Sooners a 20 point advantage, which they would then continue to build on. By halftime, the margin had reached 25, as the Sooners owned a commanding 36-11 lead.
The Sooners were relentless to start the second half, and kept piling it on their poor opponents. A 13-0 run in the early stages would give the Sooners a 53-17 lead. After the Sooners let up on the gas, TCU made an attempt at a comeback, but at that point it was too little too late, as Oklahoma coasted to the dominating win.
It was a collective effort for the Sooners, as not one player really stood out from the rest. Seven different players score eight or more points: Amath M’Baye led with 12, Romero Osby added 11, Andrew Fitzgerald and Jelon Hornbeak each had nine off the bench, and Buddy Hield, Cameron Clark and Tyler Neal all scored eight. Perhaps even more impressive was the incredible efficiency Oklahoma shot the ball with. Their shooting percentages were off the charts, 50% from the field and 100% from the free throw line—a perfect 14-14.
Defensively the Sooners were just as incredible. They held the Horned Frogs to 30% from the floor and also forced 16 turnovers. Again, it was the tenacity of the three freshmen guards that sparked the Sooners defensive intensity. Hield, Hornbeak and Isaiah Cousins combined for five of the Sooners nine steals.
It was an easy victory, and a fun game to watch if you were pulling for the crimson and cream. But at the tail end of this exciting victory, came some gloomy news.
With 7:44 to play, Hield had sunk the second of two free throws to put the Sooners up 27. On the inbounds play, the spirits of the team and fans would take a huge dive downwards. Hield was preparing to guard the pass, and stepped awkwardly on the foot of a TCU player. He hobbled off the court, and after a brief moment on the sidelines, made a visit to the locker room. After the win, the crushing news came that Hield had fractured his fifth metatarsal and that the Sooners would be without his services for at least 4 weeks. Coming so late in the season, the devastating news counteracted what otherwise would have been an enjoyable triumph for the Sooners.
Oklahoma will look to cope without Hield Saturday at 12:30 when they travel to Stillwater for round two of bedlam. Oklahoma won the first matchup and the Cowboys will be hungry for revenge, so the Sooners definitely could have used Hield’s energy.
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