As the Sooners are on the cusp of beginning a new season, let's look back on the best moments from last season. WARNING: This may excite you and compel you to attend OU basketball games this season.
10. First Win Against Memphis
The Sooners had a quick start to the season last year. Only having played two exhibition games, OU had to travel to Memphis, Tennessee where they faced a gritty Tigers team that the Sooners had never beat. Going into the game, Oklahoma had an all-time record of 0-6 against Memphis, and this Tigers team did everything they could to make it 0-7. Performances from Buddy Hield (30 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks), Isaiah Cousins (13 points, 6 assists, 2 steals), Jordan Woodard (15 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists) and Ryan Spangler (11 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks) carried the Sooners in this game, and foreshadowed what the season would soon bring from these four players. An alley-oop delivered from Woodard to Spangler to give the Sooners a 77-76 lead with 1:24 left, Woodard knocking down a contested three with 38 seconds left to go and Hield making four free throws down the stretch sealed this win.
9. Senior Night
This night began with honoring six seniors that would play their last game under the Lloyd Noble Center lights. And this night started as one to remember. The Sooners, facing a No. 19 ranked Baylor team, came out swinging. Lon and his boys looked like they were playing an exhibition game, as they sprinted out to a 29-3 lead to begin the game. However, the Bears would go on to outscore the Sooners 22-20 to end the half, making it a 46-25 halftime score. However, the second half would tell a different story. After having a 12-point lead with 7:22 to go in the game, the Sooners would not score again until 2:26 to go in the game, when they regained the lead. With Hield scoring 23 points, Spangler adding 15 points and 13 rebounds and Cousins contributing 10 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists, the Seniors were able to edge out Baylor, 73-71.
8. Pearl Harbor Game
A top-ten matchup took place on historical ground, and the Sooners were able to put on a show for the survivors of Pearl Harbor. This game soon became a historic game for Oklahoma as well, and this would soon give OU the national respect they deserved. Climbing to a quick 22-10 lead with 12:07 left in the first half, the Wildcats were able to claw their way back into the game to make it a six-point game at half. However, the Sooners would outscore Villanova by 17 in the second half to win by 23 (the game's biggest deficit). Oklahoma shot lights out behind the arc, going 14-26 with a 3-point field goal percentage of 53.8%, while keeping the Wildcats to an atrocious 12.5% from three. There were five OU players that scored in double figures, which helped Oklahoma win this one.
No. 2 Oklahoma faced No. 11 ranked West Virginia, with Oklahoma's only loss coming into the game against No. 1 Kansas and West Virginia's sole loss against No. 10 Virginia. West Virginia, who had just taken down the Jayhawks four days before facing Oklahoma, came into the game with tremendous fight and confidence. The game was knotted up 34-34 at half despite the Sooners shooting 30.8% from the floor. With the game going down to the wire, the Sooners held a two-point lead over WVU, when Buddy Hield got a loose ball foul off a rebound to send Jonathon Holton to the line. Holton sank both free throws, and the Sooners got the ball with a chance to win the game. Isaiah Cousins dished the ball to Jordan Woodard, who then attacked the basket with less than 10 seconds left. The 6'9" Devin Williams came over to help, which forced Woodard to toss a floater off the backboard. The ball sailed and hung over the front of the rim, which allowed Khadeem Lattin to tip it in with 2.8 seconds left to win the game. Just three games before that, Lattin had the chance to put away the Jayhawks with free throws with 2.1 seconds left, but could not do it. He got his second chance at glory against the Mountaineers.
6. Clutch Cousins
Ben Simmons. Buddy Hield. Player of the Year candidate versus Player of the Year candidate. Oklahoma came into the game as the No. 1 team in the country, and with a huge target on their back. The purple and gold nation came prepared. In a hostile environment, the Sooners found themselves behind 13 points with 5:05 to go in the half. However, each time the Tigers were about to go into cruise control, Oklahoma was able to stay within striking distance. The eight-point deficit for the Sooners extended to a 14-point lead for LSU with 15:59 to go in the game when the Tigers started the second half with a 8-2 run. The gritty, sharpshooters from Norman weren't done yet. In the last 10 minutes of the game, the Sooners drained six 3-pointers, five of those being from Hield. With a three-pointer from Antonio Blakeney tying up the game with 25 seconds left, the Sooners were left with a big possession. Isaiah Cousins dribbled the ball as the leading scorer, Buddy Hield (32 points), came over to set the screen for Cousins. Hield popped to the top of the perimeter before Cousins used the screen, as Cousins darted toward the basket. Cousins kept the ball as he pulled up from the elbow to drain the game-winning shot with 3.8 seconds left. The Tigers raced the length of the court to throw up a game-tying layup, only to have it rejected by Khadeem Lattin.
5. The Crossover
Big Monday. Red River Rivalry. No. 24 versus No. 3. Does it get much better than that? The Longhorns came to play, as they started the game with a 15-5 lead with 13:17 to go in the half. Oklahoma would cut the lead to two points three different times after falling behind 15-5. The Longhorns defense held the Sooners to only 22 first half points. The Sooners put up a field goal percentage of 28% to end the half, but that would radically shift to 52% in the second half. With 12:54 to go in the game, Isaiah Cousins tied up the game with a 3-point shot to make it 39-39. The Sooners grabbed their second lead of the game with 1:19 to play off a pair of Buddy Hield free throws (first lead being 3-2 with 19:05 to go in the first half). The Longhorns had the ball with the game tied up 60-60 as Isaiah Taylor attacked the basket, when Dante Buford took a very pivotal charge off Taylor's push-off. This led to the Sooners having the ball with the game on the line, and who do you think got it? Buddy Hield. Buddy caught the ball with about 6 seconds left, crossed over to his left and pulled up for the three to win the game and drained it with 1.4 seconds left.
4. Sooners Survive
The VCU Rams, coming off the first round upset over Oregon State in the NCAA Tournament, entered the second round with a mindset to ruin the Sooners' run. However, Buddy Hield had different plans. After leading by as much as 14 points in the first half, OU solidified a 13-point lead at half. However, the Rams came storming back in the second half, and stole the lead with 9:56 to play. Buddy Hield, only having scored seven points in the first half, gave the hometown Oklahoma City crowd a show by putting up 29 points in the second half, and scoring 26 of the final 31 points for OU. 19 of Buddy's 36 total points occurred in the last eight minutes of the game, and he propelled the Sooners to their second straight Sweet Sixteen bid and OU's 11th appearance. Jordan Woodard (17 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block) and Isaiah Cousins (15 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block) helped Buddy push the Sooners past the Rams, as well.
3. Feeling Elite
With 44.3 seconds left in the second round of the NCAA tournament, the Texas A&M Aggies were down 12 points to Northern Iowa. The Aggies went on to make an incredible comeback, and beat the Northern Iowa by 4 in double overtime. The Sooners knew that they would have to play every second of the game in order to secure a spot in the Elite Eight. And that is just what the Sooners did. Lon and his crew took the lead with 11:24 to go in the first half and they never looked back. They pushed the lead to as much as 19 points in the first half, and as many as 20 points in the second half. Jordan Woodard led the team with 22 points. Buddy Hield, Christian James, Khadeem Lattin and Ryan Spangler all contributed with scoring in double-digits, as well. The Sooners shot an impressive 49.2% from the field while keeping A&M to just 34.4% and advanced to the Elite Eight.
2. The Greatest Regular Season Game Ever Played
“Simply put, it was the best game that I've ever been part of at court side in my 37 years at ESPN.” This quote comes from an article in The Oklahoman by Berry Tramel, and are the words from a veteran sports commentator in Dick Vitale. It was No. 1 vs. No. 1 (the Sooners were ranked No. 1 in the Coaches poll, while the Jayhawks were ranked No. 1 in the AP poll). This presented quite a stage for these athletes to perform on. However, I don't think the people at Allen Field House knew what kind of game they were in store for. The Sooners have not beat the Jayhawks in Lawrence since February 17th, 1993, and Lon and his team did everything they could to end that streak. After three overtimes, the Sooners fell short (109-106), but college basketball fans got to witness one of the best games ever. The Sooners made 16 3-pointers with a 48.5 percentage from three. Buddy Hield was the star of the night, scoring 46 points (13-23 FG), made eight 3-pointers out of 15 and had eight rebounds with seven assists. He was interviewed by Scott Van Pelt immediately after the game, and was greeted with Jayhawk fans applauding him for his performance.
1. Final Four Bound
With a final four on the line, the Sooners took the court against the Oregon Ducks as Buddy Hield's idol – Kobe Bryant -- sat in the crowd. Some people may crumble in that type of pressure, but Buddy? This only motivated him even more. If this was supposed to be a tough game, someone forgot to tell the Sooners. OU pushed their lead to 19 points in the first half, going 9-14 from the 3-point line and shooting an impressive 64.3% from long range in the first half. Although OU got outscored by six in the second half, they held onto a 12-point victory and advanced to the Final Four for the first time since 2002. Buddy led the Sooners with 37 points, going 8-13 from downtown, and grabbed four rebounds. Jordan Woodard and Isaiah Cousins both contributed with double figures. Why did Buddy play so well? Baxter Holmes, an ESPN writer, quoted Buddy saying "As soon as I saw Kobe was here, I knew I had to put on a show. Blame it on Kobe."