NORMAN — The Oklahoma freshman from the Bahamas earned his first start at guard Saturday night.
Buddy Hield replaced fellow freshman Isaiah Cousins, who had previously started all 10 games of his OU career, in the Sooners' 74-63 victory over Ohio.
Hield had seven assists and four steals in 34 minutes for the Sooners.
“I think he didn't play like a freshman,” Oklahoma junior Amath M'Baye said. “He played like a vet. ... He was always on the ball and rushing the ball. Just playing great defense.”
Cousins played 11 minutes, had one assist, one turnover, and three missed field goals.
FIRST-HALF OFFENSIVE STRUGGLES
Oklahoma struggled offensively in the first half, shooting only 30 percent from the field.
The Sooners went 0-for-8 from the 3-point line and didn't have a single basket off a fast break.
However, OU had only three turnovers compared to Ohio's 11.
The Sooners improved their shooting in the second half, shooting 70.8 percent from the field and 3 of 4 from beyond the arc. They also had 14 fast-break points.
“We moved a lot sharper,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “We came off screens sharper. Shot with better rhythm and had better transition opportunities too.”
THE DUNKING TECHNICAL
With 4:39 remaining in the first half, M'Baye gave the Sooners their second lead of the game, and after that OU never trailed.
M'Baye gifted that lead with a monster dunk by finishing off Hield's miss on a contested shot. . However, a technical was called on M'Baye for pulling himself up on the rim after the dunk.
“He missed his two shots,” M'Baye said of the ensuing free throws by Ohio's Walter Offutt. “So I'm OK with it.”
Ohio returned all five starters from a team that advanced to the Sweet Sixteen last season. The Bobcats beat South Florida and Michigan before losing to North Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen.
Ohio's bench outscored Oklahoma 23-14. It was just the third time in 11 games that OU's bench has been outscored.