February 11, 2013

Hield goes down in Sooners blowout win

The Express-Star

NORMAN, Okla. — “Make no mistake about it: That’s an NCAA Tournament team. All they’ve got to do is stay healthy and keep doing what they’re doing.”

Those were the words of TCU head coach Trent Johnson after his team lost 75-48 to the Oklahoma men’s basketball team at Lloyd Noble Center on Monday night.

As he was saying that in the postgame press conference, OU head coach Lon Kruger broke news during a radio interview that made that “stay healthy” part a little more difficult.

Guard Buddy Hield suffered a fractured right foot late in the second half of the blowout win, and will be out 4-6 weeks, according to the team. He's scheduled to have surgery on Tuesday.

Hield came up limping after a scramble on a missed free throw, and left the game immediately with 7:34 left in the game. He paced around outside the tunnel before sitting on the bench again, eventually going to the locker room.

The Sooners have depth; 10 OU players clocked 14 minutes or more against the Horned Frogs, but Hield is a floor leader and an emotional leader for the team.

“Buddy is a terrific guy,” forward Amath M’Baye said. “We all love him to death, everybody on campus loves him. Knowing Buddy though, whether he’s on the court or on the bench he’ll have the same production, energy-wise.”

Hield scored eight points in 20 minutes in the Sooners’ win, and played tight perimeter defense each minute he was in the game. Now, the Sooners must go forward without him for an extended period of time.

“Not good,” head coach Lon Kruger said of Hield’s status. “We’ll discuss the options tomorrow or later tonight, and see where that goes, but it will be a while.”

Before the injury, things couldn’t have gone much better for the Sooners. They started the game on a 15-1 run, and held TCU to only 11 first-half points on 4-for-24 shooting for a 36-11 halftime lead.

Romero Osby attributed TCU’s low score partially to an intentional effort to increase defensive intensity, and partially to an off shooting night by the Horned Frogs.

“It was a little bit of both,” Osby said. “We’ve been trying to step our defensive intensity up, and keep things going from the Kansas game, not having any letdown. We tried to take them out of their stuff, and they missed shots, too.”

The Sooners shot 50 percent (15-for-30) in the first half, and did the same thing with 14-for-28 shooting in the second half. TCU finished the game shooting 30 percent, and was only 5-for-21 from 3-point range.

No OU player had more than 10 shot attempts, but seven players had eight points or more, led by M’Baye with 12 points.

Osby scored 11 points. Andrew Fitzgerald and Je’lon Hornbeak scored nine points each, and Cameron Clark, Tyler Neal and Hield had eight each.

“I thought they moved the ball well, shot it consistently in both halves, and made the extra passes,” Kruger said. “I thought the guys handled all that very well.”

The Sooners are now 17-4, 7-4 in the Big 12, and now have the rest of the week to prepare for a Bedlam rematch in Stillwater against the Cowboys.

OU beat the Cowboys 77-68 in Norman on Jan. 12, and needs a strong finish with or without Hield in order to become the NCAA Tournament team Johnson said they should be.

The Sooners will tip off against Oklahoma State at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Gallagher-Iba Arena.