After playing at least 37 minutes in seven of the last eight games, All-American guard Buddy Hield watched the final nine minutes of the first half with two fouls – not exactly the kind of rest that Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger had in mind.
With 20 first-half points, Oklahoma guard Jordan Woodard took care of the potentially dooming lull on thee road
Then, a fresh Hield helped the No. 1-ranked Sooners surge away from No. 13 Baylor with a big second-half run. The 82-72 result – aided by Hield’s 14 second-half points and despite Woodard’s zero-point output in the final 20 minutes – pushed the Sooners to the top of the Big 12 Conference.
A 14-0 run saved the final score for a No. 13 Baylor team that was out of it when forward Taurean Prince slowly trudged off a basic switch only to watch Oklahoma guard Dinjiyl Walker knock down an opener 3-pointer with 6:13 to go.
Oklahoma led by 22 at that point.
After losing against Iowa State earlier in the week, Oklahoma (16-2, 5-2 Big 12) erased any possibility of a bad performance on the road early. The Sooners now have made 33 3-pointers in the past two combined games and shot 57.1 percent from behind the arc – victimizing the Baylor zone.
Posting 29 assists on 31 made shots didn’t hurt either against Baylor (15-4, 5-2).
Hield, who moved into seventh all-time in scoring, finished with 19 points, and Isaiah Cousins had 13 points and nine assists for the Sooners, who will play four of the next five Big 12 games at home.
Oklahoma had a pair of 21-6 runs and shot 62 percent from the field despite scoring just 20 points in the paint.