Hield hit his first shot, then the second, and the third before finishing 10 of 10 from the floor in helping OU blowout Bedlam rival Oklahoma State 82-65 on Saturday evening at the Lloyd Noble Center.
Hield completed his perfect night with 27 points, including going 4 of 4 on his 3-point field goal attempts. He added five rebounds and two steals.
It was no laughing matter for OSU coach Travis Ford, though, who summed up Hield’s performance rather succinctly.
“He’s one of the best players in America,” Ford said. “And he showed it.”
It was nothing different for Hield. He did what he always does. Evening game so he hit the gym around 9 a.m. and shot until he was comfortable. His focus was there from the start as was the focus of rest of the team.
The focus, said OU forward Ryan Spangler, was delivering the first blow. Hield played a role in that as after OSU scored the first two points, the Sooners ran off 11 unanswered to set the tone for what round 1 of Bedlam was going to look like this season.
After back-to-back losses, this was as close to a must-win game for 18th-ranked OU heading into the huge showdown at Kansas looming Monday night. OU is now 12-5 and 3-2 in Big 12 conference play.
“The three games we’ve won, we’ve come out and hit them first,” Spangler said. “We wanted to hit them first and maintain it the whole game.”
That’s exactly what the Sooners did. OU never let the Cowboys get within 14 points in the second half and played with a comfortable margin throughout.
“It was a great crowd,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “Great energy in the building, thought our guys played off of that from the start.”
If one clear focus was the start, the other was on the defensive end of the floor. Kruger stressed to the team the effort and execution defensively the last couple of games simply would not get the job done.
His message was received as OU limited OSU to 37 percent shooting from the field, included in that were the Cowboys missing their first 15 3-point field goal attempts.
“Last couple of ballgames hadn’t really been doing that,” said Kruger about bringing the defensive intensity. “If you’re not totally focused in this league, good chance of getting beat.”
It wasn’t all Hield as OU had three other players in double figures. Jordan Woodard had 13 points, five rebounds and four assists, while Spangler posted another double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. TaShawn Thomas, in his first Bedlam game, scored all 10 of his points in the second half.