Oklahoma just continues to find a way to win.
Struggling through one of its worst shooting performances of the season in the first half and then building and almost losing a 20-point lead in the second half: Oklahoma went to the Diamond Head Classic MVP Buddy Hield on a rare isolation call in the final few minutes.
Hield, who set a tournament record for points, beat his man at the top of the key, drove past a pair of defenders and finished at the rim – knocking down a free throw to give the Sooners an eight-point lead with a little more than two minutes to play in Hawaii.
In the final two minutes, Hield (34 points) and Jordan Woodard (28) both set new careers highs, and Isaiah Cousins surpassed the 1,000-point career mark with some late free throws in an 83-71 victory against Harvard.
"Buddy is a guy that thinks about winning," Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said on ESPN2 after the game. ". . . He stepped up there at the end of the second half as he's done many times."
No. 3 Oklahoma (11-0) trailed at halftime for the first time all season but capped an undefeated non-conference season with a one-handed dunk from Woodard in the final seconds on a 4-on-0 break. The Sooners will reach January – and a Big 12 opener against Iowa State– unbeaten for the first time since the 2003-04 season.
Oklahoma returns to action on Jan. 2 in its Big 12 Conference opener against Iowa State after its second-best start in the past 26 years. The Sooners went 12-0 to start the 2008-09 season.
After shooting just 27.3 percent from behind the 3-point arc in the first half, Oklahoma trailed for the first time all season to start the second half. Ryan Spangler, who had eight points and 15 rebounds, broke the cold streak with back-to-back 3-pointers to open the half before a thawed Oklahoma went on a 17-0 run to take a 20-point lead less than seven minutes into the half.
Harvard (5-7) went on a 23-8 run of its own to trim the lead to just five points with 3:30 to go.
From there, Oklahoma went to Hield, who posted his fifth straight game of at least 25 points, has four 30-point games this season and three in the last five contests.