Didn’t really matter. Either way, the Sooners won’t see No. 1 Kansas again until the league’s postseason title game if they get that far.
“I have no doubt our team can win it all,” said Hield, his eyes on the even bigger prize of the NCAA Tournament after scoring 21 points in a 75-67 victory over the Horned Frogs on Saturday in the last regular-season appearance at Oklahoma for the nation’s second-leading scorer. “Feel like we’ve got a good coach, good players and we have all the pieces to win it all.”
The Sooners (24-6, 12-6) will be the No. 3 seed for the conference tournament next week in Kansas City, Missouri. West Virginia held on to the second spot behind the Jayhawks with a 69-58 win at Baylor on Saturday.
“It’s a new year,” coach Lon Kruger said. “Kansas again, a little better than the rest of us through the regular season. And came up short with that goal. But the guys did a lot of really good things. So anxious to play again.”
Oklahoma will have to win twice in Kansas City to see the Jayhawks again before the NCAAs. The Sooners lost in triple overtime at Kansas with the teams ranked 1-2 nationally early in the Big 12 schedule, and had another close loss at home when they were No. 3 and the Jayhawks had dropped from the top spot to sixth.
“We’re playing better defense the last four games,” said forward Ryan Spangler, who scored 11 points as the Sooners won for the fourth time in five games to answer their only two-game skid of the season. “Our offense will come. We’ve just got to keep working and keep moving and trusting each other.”
Brandon Parrish scored 20 points for the Horned Frogs (11-20, 2-16), who have three 20-loss seasons and an 8-64 regular-season record in the Big 12 in four years under coach Trent Johnson.
“We’ve taken a step backward because it’s all predicated on wins and losses,” Johnson said after a seventh straight loss. “That’s been disappointing to me. And I’m my own worst enemy in that regard. I’ve got to get it corrected in a hurry.”
Jordan Woodard scored 13 points and Isaiah Cousins had 10 points and a game-high six assists to help Oklahoma improve to 18-2 all-time against TCU.
The Sooners were sluggish early, committing seven turnovers in the first eight minutes, falling behind 16-8 and not pulling away until the final minutes against a team coming off a 25-point loss at Kansas State.
“The reason for the turnovers,” Kruger said of biggest concern after the Sooners committed 17. “Just get that ball moving, spacing better, trusting that next pass. We seem to be hanging on to it just a little bit long.”
TCU had a chance to tie with Chris Washburn at the line with 7:28 remaining, but Washburn’s air ball led to a 3-pointer by Dinjiyl Walker at the other end. Hield then hit a runner across the lane and a 3-pointer for a 60-52 lead.
Spangler made all three of his 3-pointers and Hield was 3 of 8 as the nation’s No. 3 team in shooting from behind the arc made 11 of 22. The Horned Frogs, the worst-shooting team in the Big 12, were at 43 percent overall and went 6 for 21 from long range.
Oklahoma: Hield, Woodard, Spangler and Cousins started their 98th straight game together, covering every game the past three seasons. … The Sooners didn’t trail in the second half but were only up five when Cousins hit a 3 with a little more than three minutes left and made two free throws to push the lead back to 10. … Cousins was 7 of 8 from the line.
TCU: The pregame senior day ceremony was quick. Devonta Abron is the only senior on a roster that includes two freshmen and four sophomores … The scoreboard went about a minute and a half with the wrong score early in the second half after missing a basket by TCU’s Vladimir Brodziansky, who scored 10 points. … Chauncey Collins scored 12 points.
Oklahoma: Big 12 tournament quarterfinals Thursday.
TCU: Texas Tech in first round of Big 12 tournament Wednesday.