Coaching is very key at the collegiate level. A single coach can change around the entire aspect of a game and more so, a program. Oklahoma Sooners coach Lon Kruger is that type of coach. We've seen it over the past three years, watching this team grow and get better.
This team took another step on Saturday in their win over the Baylor Bears.
Buddy Heild scored all of his 19 points in the second half as the Sooner overcame an 8-point deficit to beat the 12th-ranked Baylor Bears on the road. The Sooners ended the Bears 13 game home winning streak, the second longest in Baylor school history.
"I'm always a confident shooter, and my teammates are always encouraging me," said Hield, who was 7-of-11 in the second half after missing his three shots before then. "I got a little spurt going, but it's all thanks to my teammates finding me in open spots, giving me that confidence to make shots."
Three players for the Sooners (14-4, 3-2 Big 12) scored in double figures, Hield finished with 19 points, eight rebounds. Cameron Clark had 14 points, 10 in the second half, on 5-of-9 shooting and freshman Jordan Woodard had 10 points and eight assists.
Baylor's 2-3 defense was stifling for the Sooners in the first half. It held the Sooners to just 1-of-13 shooting from three-point range during the first twenty minutes. With all the misses, the Bears capitalized. They built an eight point lead and found themselves up by six at halftime.
This team doesn't quit though.
Kruger made adjustments. They found the open cutting man, hit the heart of the 2-3 zone and ultimately did what it takes to break the zone, hit the three-ball. Oklahoma connected 6-of-13 three's in the second half and one was no more crucial than the big one coming out of halftime.
Baylor (13-4, 1-3 Big 12) led by eight and Oklahoma went on a 16-0 run, spanning 4:30 early in the second half. Hield drained a three-pointer to give Oklahoma their first lead since early in the first half at 34-32 with 16:06 remaining in the game.
That was the start of a streak of points for Hield. The sophomore rolled off 11 consecutive points from there, helping push Oklahoma into the lead. Hield's three with 4:01 put the Sooners in the lead for good.
Oklahoma has to learn to put their free throws in their home though. They struggled to close out the ball game by missing from the charity stripe. The Sooners hit just 3-of-6 free throws in the final minute that could have sealed the game. Jordan Woodard missed two in the waning seconds.
The win was the Sooners first on the road against a team ranked in the top 12 or higher of the AP poll since Feb. 17, 1993. That's when Oklahoma upset No. 6 Kansas 80-77.
Ryan Spangler spent a lot of the time guarding Cory Jefferson, he finished with just seven points, grabbed nine boards. However, he frustrated Jefferson with being really physical and ended up blocking two Jefferson shots.
Oklahoma was just the second team to beat Baylor when trailing after halftime in the last 33 games for the Bears.
The Sooners now turn their attention to the TCU Horned Frogs. They're the cellar dweller of the Big 12 right now. They're 0-5 in the conference and just 9-8 on the season. That game takes place at the LNC at 8pm on Wednesday and will be televised on ESPNU.