Before Oklahoma’s battle with Oklahoma State on Thursday, Sooners guard Buddy Hield was presented with the Big 12 player of year trophy.
In the second half of the Sooners’ 64-49 victory, he showed why won the award.
Hield scored 16 of his 22 points after halftime and helped spark a comeback victory that sent third-seeded Oklahoma, 22-9, to Friday’s semifinal game against Iowa State at the Sprint Center.
The Sooners’ five-point halftime deficit swelled to nine in the early moments of the second half as shooting woes continued. It appeared Oklahoma State might find a way to win a Bedlam rivalry game for the first time this season.
But with Oklahoma trailing 32-25, Hield knocked down two free throws, swished a deep three-pointer and converted two more from the line.
The Sooners’ comeback was well underway. A few moments later, forward TaShawn Thomas scored inside, giving Oklahoma its first lead at 36-35, and Hield buried another triple, which completed a 16-3 run that changed the game.
Hield had help. Thomas finished with 17, and Ryan Spangler hauled in 15 rebounds to help give coach Lon Kruger his first postseason victory, in the Big 12 or NCAA Tournament, at Oklahoma.
Oklahoma State’s Le’Bryan Nash did not have enough of a supporting cast. In his final Big 12 game, Nash, a four-year starter, finished with a season-best 27 points and 11 rebounds. He became fourth-leading scorer in program history on Thursday.
The Cowboys got off to a solid start, leading 26-21 at halftime, and it probably should have been more. The Sooners had shot only 23.3 percent from the floor.
Now the Cowboys, 18-13, must wait to hear whether their name is called on selection Sunday.
A three-game winning streak in early February, when Oklahoma State defeated Texas, Kansas and Baylor — the Longhorns and Bears on the road — pads the profile.
Oklahoma and Iowa State played two intense games during the regular season, with each winning on their home floor. The Sooners won 94-83 in Norman, setting a season-high for production. In Ames, Iowa State overcame a 21-point second half deficit and won 77-70.