NORMAN — Monday night started out very quiet for Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield. He missed his first two shots and his team was struggling against North Texas.
It didn’t last long. Hield scored a career-high 23 points — all of them coming in the game’s final 28 minutes — to lead the Sooners to a 95-82 victory over the Mean Green at Lloyd Noble Center.
It was the second straight game Hield has led the Sooners in scoring and more validation the sophomore guard is ready to take a major leap in his second year of college basketball.
“Coaches are always telling me to be aggressive and my teammates are always telling me to be aggressive and keep attacking,” Hield said.
He connected on 7-of-14 attempts from the field and was 3 for 4 from the 3-point range. He hit two driving layups and a 3-pointer during an 18-11 run late in the first half that helped the Sooners claim a 42-28 lead.
It was the kind of game Hield should thrive in. Neither team spent much time in the half-court offense. OU was only credited with 13 fast-break points, but both teams were running from the opening tip.
The points were the most OU (2-0) has scored since the 2009-10 season opener.
Hield was far from the only player to get in the scoring act. Je’lon Hornbeak, Ryan Spangler and Cameron Clark all finished with 11 points apiece.
The unexpected surprise came from senior forward Tyler Neal. He came off the bench to score 12 points and set a career-high with eight rebounds. He played 22 minutes due to Clark dealing with foul trouble most of the game. But it was the most points he scored since his sophomore season.
“I’ve known I could do these things for a while. I just need to step up and do it,” Neal said. “I know my teammates my believe in me. Tonight, they found me in positions to score.”