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February 11, 2013

OU routs TCU but lose freshman star in Hield

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Monday night's game was a trap game in the most classic sense of the phrase for the Sooners. Oklahoma wasn't 48 hours removed from beating, then-No. 5 Kansas, one of the premier teams in college basketball, when its game against Texas Christian tipped at Lloyd Noble Center.

After earning just one win during conference play, TCU is the worst team in the Big 12. But that's only in the win and loss columns. The fat lady was warming up for her solo when the Horned Frogs yanked the mic from her hand last Wednesday.

TCU proved it wasn't done when the Horned Frogs became the third team to knockoff the Jayhawks during a week Kansas fans are still spitting nails over, but TCU couldn't capitalize on Mr. Momentum's sudden return to their bench.

Postgame Reaction: Sooners talk Buddy Hield injury

Oklahoma hammered TCU 75-48, and TCU men's basketball coach Trent Johnson was blunt in his assessment of the Sooners' win.

"Without looking at the tape, the bottom line for me is you can look at the score, you can cut it anyway you want it, they just gave us a good old fashion ass-whooping," Johnson said. "Excuse my language, but that's what that is."

The only drawback to Oklahoma's win tonight is the injury of freshman guard Buddy Hield. He scored just eight points on 3-of-7 shooting and provided two of OU's 11 assists. He's been the best defensive player on Oklahoma men's basketball coach Lon Kruger's squad this season.

Near the end of the half, he limped toward the training room with his right shoe off for evaluation by OU's athletic training staff. The prognosis was not good.

"Buddy's got a fracture in the fifth metatarsal of that right foot," Kruger said. "We'll discuss the options tomorrow or later tonight or see later tonight, but it'll be awhile before Buddy gets back."

Oklahoma announced Hield will undergo surgery Tuesday to repair the broken foot. It is expected to take 4 to 6 weeks before he recovers, and that comes as a substantial blow to the Sooners in a wide open race in the Big 12. Senior forward Romero Osby took the injury to Hield especially hard.

"It couldn't happen to a better person," Osby said. "One of the first people in the gym every day and one of the last people to leave. I look at him as a little brother, and it always hurts to see a family member drop down."

Neither Kruger nor Osby nor junior forward Amath M'Baye saw how the injury occurred.

The Horned Frogs did the Sooners a favor by missing their first 14 shots of the game and scoring their first point with 11:52 left to play in the game. When the Horned Frogs finally scored their field goal, junior forward Tyler Neal answered with back-to-back 3-pointers.

By the end of the first half, Oklahoma led the Horned Frogs 36-11, and TCU had converted just 4-of-23 attempts from the floor. TCU might've had an easier time catching fish with the net than scoring points.

The Sooners didn't have a problem finding the nylon in the first 20 minutes, hitting 15-of-30 shot attempts and receiving points from seven Sooners in the half. Whenever TCU (10-14, 1-10) seemed to make a good play, OU seemed to buck back with two of its own.

Oklahoma (16-7, 7-4) didn't let the Horned Frogs off the mechanical bull in the second half, either. With 12:44 left to play, the Sooners had tripled TCU's score with a 53-17 lead.

The Sooners' dominating performance was a window unto the traits that have made them a team which could earn a berth in the NCAA tournament. They took care of the basketball, relied on the strength of their depth and received quality minutes from Osby and M'Baye.

Osby scored 11 points in the game and grabbed seven boards while M'Baye provided 12 points and three boards. But M'Baye's efficient 4-of-8 shooting was overshadowed by Hield's injury. He expects high energy out of Hield from the bench until his return.

"Knowing Buddy, I know that from the court, from the bench, he's still going to be highly productive energy-wise," M'Baye. "I'm looking forward to getting him back on the court. I'm very saddened by his injury. It affects me a lot, too."

With this game behind them, the Sooners will have little trouble focusing on their game to come against No. 17 Oklahoma State Saturday for what is shaping up to be the first relevant Bedlam game in recent memory. OU's depth will certainly be called into action.

"This group, as you know, all year we have had different people, different games make the difference," Kruger said. "So our depth is good. You don't like to see injury of course. It is an unfortunate part of the game but having good depth helps if you do have injury or foul trouble."

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