Oklahoma St.-Oklahoma Preview
Oklahoma State forced Buddy Hield into four more turnovers than he'd committed in any previous game during his record-setting career at Oklahoma in the first matchup of the Bedlam Series last month.
When he held onto the ball and got his shot off, though, it went in more often than not.
Hield appears dialed in again after what could be considered a mini-slump for the nation's second-leading scorer, and he'll look to guide the third-ranked Sooners to a 12th consecutive home win over the injury-plagued Cowboys on Wednesday night.
Oklahoma (21-5, 9-5 Big 12) dropped three of its previous four and fell further behind conference-leading Kansas with Hield shooting 36.7 percent from the field and 35.5 from 3-point range over the final three in that stretch.
Hield, hitting 50.1 percent from the floor and a conference-best 48.7 percent from deep, bounced back Saturday, draining 5 of 11 from behind the arc and scoring 29 in a 76-62 win at then-No. 10 West Virginia.
Hield has 109 3-pointers, breaking the school record of 105 set by Nate Erdmann in 1996-97.
''For the past few weeks we've been struggling,'' said Hield, who raised his scoring average to 25.4. ''Coach (Lon Kruger) got on us. Everybody wanted to come to West Virginia and prove something. We didn't have fun competing. This game, we really had fun.''
Oklahoma's chances of winning the Big 12 regular-season crown are slim considering it has four games left with the Jayhawks having earned a season sweep, but the possibility still remains given the depth of the conference. Eight of the Sooners' contests in Big 12 play have been decided by five points or fewer.
"We've got to do what we can to take care of business moving forward," Kruger said. "Last two weeks of conference play coming up and every (game) is going to be really tough.''
Oklahoma State (12-15, 3-11) is having a down year and will miss the NCAA Tournament for the first time in four seasons barring a miraculous run through the Big 12 tournament. The Cowboys nearly pulled off an upset Jan. 13, though, before Jeffrey Carroll's 3-pointer at the buzzer rimmed out in a 74-72 loss to the then-No. 2 Sooners.
They forced Hield into 10 turnovers - tied for the second-most in an NCAA game this season - but he hit 10 of 17 from the floor and six 3s while scoring 26.
"It could have changed our season. It's tough," Carroll told the team's official website.
That thought could be quite a stretch, though. Guard Phil Forte, who averaged 15.0 points last season, played only three games before suffering an elbow injury that will keep him out for the remainder of the season.
Freshman Jawun Evans averaged 12.9 points and scored 42 against the Sooners, but coach Travis Ford said a shoulder problem will keep Evans out for the year after missing the last five.
Jeff Newberry has averaged 17.5 points over the last two after scoring 16 in Saturday's 71-61 loss to Texas Tech, but Ford knows his squad will need more Wednesday. The Cowboys have lost six straight to the Sooners and the last 11 in Norman.
"We've got to overachieve," Ford said. "Dig deep inside and find that ridiculous effort, that unbelievable performance that will give us a chance at this point, because that's what it's going to take. But the great thing about it, that's happened before. Why can't that be us at one time? You have to have the right approach for that to even come out."