NEW YORK — Buddy Hield hit the game-winning free throw with 9.3 seconds left to give Oklahoma an 86-85 men's basketball victory over Seton Hall on Friday night in the semifinal round of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at the Barclays Center. Hield's shot capped a wild comeback in which the Sooners trailed by six points with 30 seconds left in the game.
The Sooners' late rally was sparked by persistent play that flustered the Pirates and resulted in two key steals in the final 30 seconds.
“That was a wild finish for sure,” said Sooners coach Lon Kruger. “I thought we had the upper hand getting the loose balls — that key stretch during the second half especially. It wouldn't happen very often if you played it a several times.”
The unbeaten Sooners were led by Cameron Clark's 20-points and nine rebounds. Isaiah Cousins, a native New Yorker, added 19 points.
A 10-2 run midway through the first half gave the Sooners an early 27-19 lead. However, two key 3-pointers from senior guard Brian Oliver sparked a rally late that gave Seton Hall the lead.
The Sooners answered back with five points in the final 26 seconds to head into halftime with a 44-41 lead.
“Coach said to get up in the line of passes, and we did a good job of getting steals,” Clark said. “We were fortunate to get two steals, and we got the score up so it was all good.”
The Sooners struggled to keep pace with the Pirates' up-tempo offensive style and fell behind early in the second half. Seton Hall scored 19 points off the fast break in the game, with guard Brian Oliver having much success from the 3-point line. The redshirt senior connected on five-of-13 3-point attempts and finished with 19 points.
Oklahoma overcame a poor game at the free throw line, where it shot just 68.8 percent, by dominating Seton Hall in the paint.
“You gotta give OU a lot of credit in the last 45 seconds,” said Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard. “They did a good job of creating a couple turnovers. We got a little bit out of whack, and we just didn't take care of the ball.”
With the win, the Sooners (4-0) advance to play top-ranked Michigan State.