The Oklahoma Sooners men's basketball team had very high expectations coming into this season. Buddy Hield decided to come back for his senior season so he could lead Oklahoma to a Final Four, as the quartet of Sooners starters all came into the season with that goal in mind. Well, after 33 games and lots of ups and downs, Oklahoma is back in the Final Four for the first time since 2002.
Many were doubtful of the Sooners. Even heading into the Elite Eight where they faced the top seeded team in the region, Oregon, they were one point underdogs. But after a 37 point game from Buddy Hield and 40 minutes of tough defense, the Sooners are headed to the Final Four.
From start to finish, Oklahoma played like they were the superior team. They outscored Oregon, 48-30, in the first half of play. As they headed into the second half feeling really good about themselves but the Ducks were far from finished. They came right back and cut the lead to single digits, but every time they garnered momentum Oklahoma would steal it right back. The result was a 80-68 win for the Sooners and a trip to Houston for the Final Four next weekend.
Hield shot 13/20 on field goals and only needed three made free throws to hit 37 points. Jordan Woodard had 13 points and Isaiah Cousins had 11 points with seven assists. Christian James led the team with 10 rebounds off the bench and five points. Dante Buford also came in and had four points for the Sooners, including a sweet put-back dunk after a rare Buddy Hield miss.
Oregon was outrebounded by the Sooners despite being one of the biggest teams in the country. The rebound margin was suppose to be the Ducks strong point over Oklahoma, but it turned out to be the other way around which is why Oklahoma was able to win today. Elgin Cook had 24 points for the Ducks, who will end the season with a 31-7 record.
Up next for Oklahoma will be a rematch no matter who wins, as Villanova takes on Kansas today to see who will play the Sooners in the Final Four. Villanova lost to Oklahoma by 23 points back in December and Kansas beat Oklahoma twice in the regular season during conference play.