Hield, Clark get hot in second half to lead OU

WACO, Texas -- With 9.1 seconds left to play in the game freshman point guard Jordan Woodard stepped to the line to give No. 25 Oklahoma the points cushion it was desperate for against No. 12 Baylor.
The Sooners led by just one, 65-64, at the Ferrell Center. BU center Isaiah Austin had splashed net from 3-point range in each of the Bears' last two possessions.
It had taken only 11 seconds for him to accomplish that feat. He was then 2-of-3 from beyond the arc and brimming with confidence.
But so was Woodard.
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He'd missed 2-of-8 shots, but he'd found his teammates for eight assists and made 4-of-5 from the charity stripe. Now, at the line again, he needed only to hit both to make it a two-possession game. It was winning time.
With the students yelling in his face and folks sitting on the sideline stomping their feet and yelling as loud as they could to distract him, he missed the first free throw off the front end of the cylinder.
He berated himself under his breath. When he toed the line again, he did so with the posture of a man determined to see the ball go through the bottom of the net, and his shot fell. It was his 10th and the final point of the game.
"I think he knows that we have confidence in him," said sophomore forward Ryan Spangler of Woodard. "He's been hitting free throws all year, getting to the line all year.
"That's where he scores most of his points. Coach just told him 'You got this. Just knock them down, and we'll play defense and win the game.'"
The Sooners won 66-64 on Saturday.
Senior guard Cameron Clark scored 14 points and grabbed four boards in the game. Spangler finished with seven points and nine rebounds.
The win is OU's second such victory against a top 25 team in as many weeks. But it looked like the Sooners shot themselves in the foot early.
The Sooners shot 24 percent from the floor and hit just 1-of-13 attempts from beyond the arc.
The Bears looked almost as bad as the Sooners did in the first half. They made just 37 percent of their shots and just 2-of-10 treys.
No Sooner scored more than five points in the first half and two of OU's most important players -- Spangler and Clark -- had picked up two fouls apiece.
Woodard managed to salvage a 1-of-5 shooting half with five points and four dimes. But Clark and Spangler were still trying to find their scoring touch.
They, along with sophomore guard Isaiah Cousins, scored just four points in the first 20 minutes. Cousins was the only Sooner to hit more than one shot in the half. He made just two.
OU trailed Baylor by just 30-24 at halftime. Kruger told his team it was fortunate to be down by just six at the half given the way the Sooners shot the ball.
He told them to continue to attack and push the ball in transition, but something or someone had to change for OU if it was going to mount a comeback. Turns out, it was sophomore guard Buddy Hield.
Hield was held scoreless in the first half and into the first three minutes of the second. An assisted lay-up from Woodard was the shot that got him going.
"I though that was a big part of the second half," Kruger said. "To be able to get down a couple 3s in transition, a couple lay-ups in transition, that helped our confidence as well."
When Hield began to make shots, so did the rest of the Sooners. OU mounted a 16-0 scoring run and worked that into an eight-point lead with 14:31 left in the game.
Hield became so hot during a 10-minute stretch that Clark found himself eschewing a set play to get Hield the ball.
"We were running this play, and it was really for (Spangler) down low," Clark said, "But I saw Buddy. When he's hot, you gotta give him the ball. You've seen what he can do."
Hield finished with a game-high 19 points and eight rebounds.
This was a pivotal game for OU, one the Sooners needed to win to stay in the hunt for the Big 12, and one that revealed how far they've come, how far they have to go.
"We've been close the last two or three games that we've let go, and I think we finally finished it," Spangler said. "I think that taught us something."