By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — For a little over 32 minutes everything went perfectly for Oklahoma on Monday. It was cruising to an eventual 75-48 victory over TCU at Lloyd Noble Center. The momentum from its victory over Kansas two days ago appeared to be growing.
Then freshman guard Buddy Hield planted his right foot after making the second of two free throws and immediately started hopping on his left leg.
The rest of the Sooners’ 27-point victory to improve to 16-7 and 7-4 in the Big 12 Conference didn’t seem to matter. A few minutes after the game, Sooner coach Lon Kruger announced Hield had broken the fifth metatarsal (outside) bone in his right foot and is out at least four weeks.
“We’ll discuss the options tomorrow or later tonight, and see where it goes,” Kruger said. “It’s gonna be a while before he gets back.
“Buddy is a guy who loves to play, obviously. It hurts everyone when that’s taken away, so, we’re disappointed.”
Hield’s injury was the blemish on an otherwise dominant performance by the Sooners.
They controlled the game from the opening tip on the defensive end, holding the Horned Frogs (10-14, 1-10) scoreless for the first 812 minutes and without a field goal for the first 11.
“We were trying to step up our defensive intensity and keep it going from the Kansas game and not have a letdown,” said OU forward Romero Osby, who finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. “We knew they beat Kansas and we were trying to take them out of their stuff. They were missing shots, too, so it was a little bit of both.”
Tyler Neal hit back-to-back 3-pointers during a 50-second stretch midway through the first half to ignite an 18-5 run to close the first half.
The Sooners’ 36-11 lead marked their largest halftime lead of the season. It was also the Horned Frogs’ lowest point total for a half in the program history.
“Obviously, we didn’t give them any type of fight and got off to a horrible start,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. “This is our third game in about seven days and we’re not deep enough to make a push on a team of this caliber.”
Devonta Abron led the Horned Frogs, which shot 30.2 percent (16-for-53 from the field, with 12 points. Kyan Anderson added 11 and Connell Crossland added 10.
OU, which shot 50 percent from the field (29-for-58) and was perfect, received 12 points from Amath M’Baye. He and Osby were two of the seven Sooners to score at least eight points.
Hield had eight. The last two came on a pair of free throws with 7:44 left that put OU up by 27.
Then he stepped on a TCU player’s foot as the inbound pass came in and immediately showed discomfort. Kruger got him out of the game 10 seconds later and Hield was quickly taken back to the training room. He wasn’t made available to reporters after the game.
The freshman guard played a team-lead 590 minutes prior to Monday’s game and had only played 20 minutes prior to the injury. No OU player was on the floor for more than 26 minutes Monday night.
The victory sets up a Bedlam showdown at Oklahoma State on Saturday that could have seeding implications for the NCAA Tournament for the first time four years.
Losing Hield, however, takes some wind out of the Sooners’ sail.
“Buddy is a terrific guy. We all love him to death. I think everybody around campus loved him to death,” M’Baye said. “He’s done such a great job giving us energy that we’re going to miss it. Knowing Buddy, even from the corner of the bench he’s still going to have the same production and energy for us. I’m looking forward to seeing him back on the court. I’m very saddened by his injury. It affects me a lot, too.”
Follow me @john_shinn
For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.