Baton Rouge, La. — Oklahoma senior Buddy Hield has taken plenty of shots in crunch time and could not have looked more comfortable letting it fly again while his team roared back from a double-digit deficit in front of a packed, hostile and fully wound-up crowd.
Hield made seven of his eight 3-pointers in the second half on his way to a 32-point performance, Isaiah Cousins hit a go-ahead jumper with 4 seconds left and No. 1 Oklahoma overcame a 14-point deficit to escape with a 77-75 victory over LSU on Saturday.
“That’s all confidence,” Hield said of his flourish down the stretch, which came after he’d made one of his first five 3s. “My teammates keep lifting me up, even when I start off missing the first two of the second half. They find me in good spots and I was able to knock down good, rhythm shots.”
LSU freshman sensation Ben Simmons — like Hield a top candidate for college player of the year — had his share of highlights in a 14-point performance, including a memorable driving reverse dunk. But he had trouble even getting his hands on the ball in the last 10 minutes.
LSU coach Johnny Jones emphasized the experience factor when explaining why the Tigers struggled to stop Hield, who scored at least 30 for the eighth time this season.
“He just made some huge plays out there tonight that were needed to put his team in position to win — and that’s what veteran guys do,” Jones said. “So for a guy like that to come back for his senior year and continue to improve as a player, you could see the fruits of his labor out there today.”
Cousins finished with 18 points, and Ryan Spangler had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Sooners (18-2).
LSU (13-8) didn’t go quietly. Antonio Blakeney hit a pair of late 3s, and the second tied it at 75 with 24 seconds left.
The Tigers weren’t finished until Khadeem Lattin blocked Tim Quarterman’s driving shot as time ran out.
Many fans seemed to think Quarterman was fouled. Some even hurled garbage toward the court, showering those below them with bits of ice. There was contact on the play, but it could have been tough to tell in real time who initiated it as the Sooners collapsed defensively into the paint.
“I went to the hole pretty hard and got hit, but they didn’t call the foul,” said Quarterman, who scored a team-leading 18 points. “We can’t hang our heads on that.”
(At) No. 2 North Carolina 89, Boston College 62: Brice Johnson had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and North Carolina (19-2, 8-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) beat Boston College for its 12th straight win. Eli Carter had 19 points to lead Boston College (7-14, 0-7).
(At) No. 4 Kansas 90, No. 20 Kentucky 84, (OT): Wayne Selden Jr. scored a career-high 33 points, seven in overtime, and Kansas beat Kentucky in the premier showdown of the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Frank Mason III added 13 points for the Jayhawks (17-4), who snapped a three-game losing streak to the Wildcats (16-5) by winning their 35th straight game at Allen Fieldhouse. Ulis finished with 26 points and eight assists for Kentucky.
(At) No. 5 Texas A&M 72, No. 14 Iowa State 62: Danuel House scored 20 points, including a go-ahead 3 late in the second half that sent Texas A&M over Iowa State in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Star forward Georges Niang scored 15 points for the Cyclones (16-5).
No. 7 Xavier 86, (at) DePaul 65: Trevon Bluiett scored 15 points and Xavier used an impressive burst spanning the halves to put away DePaul. Macura and Larry Austin Jr. had 12 points apiece for the Musketeers (19-2, 7-2 Big East). DePaul (7-14, 1-8) lost for the eighth time in its last nine games.
(At) Florida 88, No. 9 West Virginia 71: Dorian Finney-Smith scored 24 points, Brandone Francis-Ramirez hit three huge 3-pointers and Florida (14-7) upset West Virginia (17-4) in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Jaysean Page and Tarik Phillip scored 15 apiece for West Virginia, which gave up its most points of the season.
No. 10 Providence 73, (at) Georgetown 69: Ben Bentil and Kris Dunn each scored 26 points, and Providence (18-4, 6-3 Big East) held off several second-half charges by Georgetown. Rodney Bullock added 10 points and 14 rebounds for Providence. L.J. Peak led Georgetown (13-9, 6-3), with 19 points, and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera had 18 against Providence.
No. 11 Virginia 63, (at) No. 16 Louisville 47: Malcolm Brogdon and Anthony Gill each scored 13 points and Virginia (17-4, 6-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) used stifling defense to rout Louisville for its fourth straight victory. Louisville (17-4, 6-2 ACC) committed 18 turnovers in having its four-game winning streak snapped. Reserves Ray Spalding and Deng Adel each 12 points for the Cardinals.
(At) No. 13 SMU 80, Memphis 68: Nic Moore scored 22 and SMU rebounded from its first loss of the season. Freshman guard Shake Milton added 15 points for the Mustangs (19-1, 8-1 AAC). Shaq Goodwin scored 18 points to lead Memphis (13-8, 4-4).
(At) N.C. State 85, No. 15 Miami 69: Anthony “Cat” Barber scored 30 and Abdul-Malik Abu added 19 points for N.C. State (12-10, 2-7 Atlantic Coast Conference), who shook off a month’s worth of struggles with a confident performance. Sheldon McClellan scored 18 to lead Miami (16-4, 5-3).
(At) No. 17 Baylor 83, Georgia 73: Rico Gathers had 17 points and Baylor (17-4) used a quick start to the second half to beat Georgia in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. J.J. Frazier had 21 points and 11 assists to lead Georgia (11-8).
(At) No. 18, Arizona 80, Oregon State 63: Gabe York made six 3-pointers and scored 24 points, both career highs, and Arizona bounced back from a rare home loss to beat Oregon State. Ryan Anderson added 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Wildcats (17-5, 5-4 Pac-12). Tres Tinkle scored 16 for Oregon State (12-8, 3-6). The win was No. 300 for coach Sean Miller in his career, first at Xavier and now at Arizona.