Oklahoma star Buddy Hield did everything he could to carry the Sooners in the first week of the NCAA tournament. Thursday night he had a little help from his friends.
Five players for OU scored in double figures as the Sooners played a complete game in a 77-63 victory against third-seeded Texas A&M in the Sweet 16 in Anaheim, Calif.
The win puts the Sooners in the Elite 8 for the first time since 2009 when Blake Griffin was the household name for OU.
Expected to be the Hield show, it was junior guard Jordan Woodard who made an impression early and often. He led the way with 22 points, shooting 8 of 11 from the field and 5 of 6 from 3-point territory. He added five assists, three rebounds and two blocks.
The Aggies rushed out to an early 13-6 lead before the Sooners locked down defensively and started to find their groove on offense as OU took a 45-26 lead into halftime.
A&M got out to a fast start in the second half, but its inability to make free throws stalled any major momentum it could have had in attempting to make another incredible comeback in the tournament. A&M only shot 13 of 24 from the line for the game.
Hield didn’t have his typical shooting night but did finish with 17 points and 10 rebounds, marking his first double-double of the season. Freshman guard Christian James had 12 points off the bench, making four 3-pointers in the contest, while Ryan Spangler and Khadeem Lattin each had 10 points for OU.
The Sooners will play either Oregon in the West regional final at 5:09 p.m. CST Saturday evening.