Apr 3, 2016 12:59 AM
Hield held below 10 points as Oklahoma loses in Final Four
The Associated Press
HOUSTON (AP) Nobody thought Buddy Hield would go out like this.
The unanimous All-American who had 37 points in the regional final against Oregon to get Oklahoma to the Final Four didn't break double figures in his final game.
The Sooners were crushed 95-51 by Villanova on Saturday night for their worst loss of the season and Hield, who won several national player of the year awards, finished with nine points.
"Just credit them for what they were doing. Made it tough on me throwing multiple bodies at me," said Hield, who had six points against West Virginia, the only other time this season he was held below 10 points. "They just played terrific tonight."
Hield, who became the Big 12's all-time leading scorer in the game, said Villanova was: "one of the best teams I've ever played in college."
Several Wildcats get credit for the great defense against Hield.
"We were just loading into him," Mikal Bridges said. "We just tried our best to limit his touches and load to him when he had the ball."
Hield, who came in shooting 46.5 percent from 3-point range, finished 4 for 12 from, including 1 of 8 from beyond the arc.
"Buddy's been a great story, think about being from the Bahamas and coming to the States and developing his game, and affected a lot of people around him," Sooners coach Lon Kruger said. "I'm disappointed for Buddy today, but just really appreciate everything he has done for the program and college basketball as well."
The Wildcats set a victory margin record for a national semifinal.
"That was just one of those nights," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "I feel bad for Oklahoma."
He can feel good for his Wildcats (34-5) as they advanced to Monday night's national championship game against North Carolina, which beat Syracuse 83-66.
Josh Hart scored 23 points and his 10-of-12 shooting performance was part of Villanova's 71.4 percent (35 of 49) effort. Villanova missed just five shots of 22 in the second half.
The margin topped the 34-point Final Four wins by Cincinnati over Oregon State in 1962 and Michigan State over Penn in 1979.
The Wildcats now have four wins in the tournament of at least 19 points, the only close game a 5-point win over overall No. 1 seed Kansas in the Elite Eight.
Villanova dominated the Sooners (29-8) after an opening 7 minutes that had the teams trading the lead almost every possession.
The Wildcats broke it open with a 21-4 run. The stats about NRG Stadium being a horrible place to shoot went out the window along with the Sooners' chances at playing for their first title.
"I definitely think it helped," Wright said of practicing shooting in the dome. "'We're going to be good,' we keep telling them, and I think they believed that."
The Wildcats, with Hart going 7 for 8, shot 66.7 percent in the first half, including 6 of 11 from 3-point range in taking a 42-28 halftime lead.
As the Wildcats, who won it all in 1985 with the shocking upset of Georgetown, kept making shots, Hield kept missing.
Hield kept putting on and off his familiar white sleeve on his right arm. It didn't matter.
The Sooners finished 31.7 percent (19 of 60) for the game.
Kris Jenkins added 18 points for Villanova and Ryan Arcidiacono had 15.
Jordan Woodard led the Sooners with 12 points.
Villanova turned the tables from the teams' December meeting with a 21-4 run in the first half.
The Wildcats made one less 3-pointer in the run than they did in 32 attempts in the 78-55 loss at Pearl Harbor. Bridges, Jenkins and Arcidiacono hit the long jumpers for Villanova and Oklahoma, meanwhile, couldn't get anything going. The Sooners went 4 1/2 minutes without scoring. They committed four turnovers on their first five possessions of the drought
Hart capped the half for Villanova with a 3-pointer with 8 seconds left that made it 42-28.
The Wildcats had as many assists (9) as Oklahoma did turnovers. Villanova shot 66.7 percent (18 of 27) while the Sooners were just 12 for 25 (48 percent).
The teams were as close as you can possibly get in the final AP poll. Villanova was sixth and Oklahoma seventh. Both teams spent time at No. 1 this season.
Oklahoma: There were only two free throws attempted by both teams in the first half and Spangler missed both. ... Hield came into the game needing four points to pass Baylor's LaceDarius Dunn as the Big 12's all-time leading scorer (2,295).
Villanova: Daniel Ochefu came into the game needing four points for 1,000 in his career. He finished with 10. ... Bridges had 11 points and Phil Booth added 10.
Oklahoma: season over.
Villanova: winner of North Carolina-Syracuse game for national championship.
AP college basketball website: http://collegebasketball.ap.org