Baton Rouge’s electric environment appeared to be a problem for No. 1 Oklahoma as they took on LSU, but the top team in the land was able to regroup and escape back to Norman with a 77-75 win thanks to Buddy Hield and Isaiah Cousins.
Hield did his part in keeping the Sooners in the game, while it was Cousins who drained the winning basket with 3.8 seconds left on the clock to put the Sooners up by two. LSU had a chance to tie it at the buzzer, but Khadeem Lattin put an end to that nonsense with an emphatic block that quieted the once rowdy crowd inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Oklahoma (18-2) struggled to get much going early in the first half, and LSU (13-8) was able to build up a 13-point lead, which happens to be the biggest deficit the Sooners had faced all season. Oklahoma shot only 35.7 percent from behind the arc in the first half, and were also having trouble driving the ball into the paint as well with Ben Simmons clogging the lane with his presence. The Sooners were still able to claw within eight points before halftime, but Lon Kruger’s team still didn’t look like themselves.
Things didn’t look too much brighter to start the second half when LSU reeled off an 8-0 run that led to another big LSU lead, but then it was time for Hield to take over. The senior player of the year candidate put on a dazzling performance that featured a whopping seven 3-pointers in the final 16 minutes that kept the Sooners in the game, which eventually led to Cousins’ elbow jumper that ultimately won the game.
Hield finished with 32 points on 11-of-22 shooting while making eight of his 15 shots from behind the arc. His spectacular performance came in a game in which the LSU student section was yelling obscenities towards him throughout most of the contest, but apparently Hield used that as motivation. Hield’s monster game warranted some respect even from some of the NBA’s greatest players.
Buddy Hield is cold blooded!!!— Chandler Parsons (@ChandlerParsons) January 30, 2016
Buddy Hield nice dog... Cutting these boys up this season...— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) January 30, 2016
Cousins finished with 18 points and seven assists, while Ryan Spangler was a beast in the post with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Spangler also did a good job guarding LSU star Ben Simmons, who totaled 14 points and nine rebounds in the game. Tim Quarterman led the way for the Tigers with 18 points while going 5-for-5 from behind the 3-point line.
Oklahoma will be back in action on Tuesday night when they host TCU.