NORMAN — After Oklahoma finished off an 86-73 win over Kansas State on Saturday at Lloyd Noble Center, Buddy Hield shrugged off the Sooners' performance as just another game.
“We just came in like a regular game,” Hield said, not attaching any extra significance to the performance, which was more dominant than the final score indicated or to the week between games.
But there was an added bit of drive for Hield that had nothing to do with Oklahoma moving back into a tie for second place in the Big 12 or avenging Kansas State's win over the Sooners in Manhattan more than a month earlier.
It was because a group of more than 50 people from Hield's high school, Sunrise Christian, made the drive down from Wichita, Kan., to watch Hield lead the Sooners.
“Fifty-two people all together,” Sunrise coach Kyle Linstead said after talking with Hield following the win. “We had a small Buddy Hield fan section.”
There were plenty of other fans of Hield among the estimated crowd of 9,248.
Hield led the Sooners with 18 points and added four assists and three steals as Oklahoma jumped out to a huge lead early.
The Sooners used the four practices since their last game to focus on their work on the defensive end and being more consistent about getting their guards to drive the lane and kick to open shots on the perimeter.
Oklahoma did plenty of both in building a 25-point first-half lead.
Three minutes in, Jordan Woodard's drive-and-kick led to a long jumper by Isaiah Cousins.
On the next possession, Hield picked Marcus Foster's pocket, streaked down the court and pulled up for a 3-pointer to lift the Sooners ahead for the first time. Oklahoma never trailed again.