After another win in the very next game, there was nothing to be happy about for Hield and his Sooners.
|Postgame Press Conference|
Hield broke a bone in his right foot during the second half of Oklahoma's 75-48 rout of TCU on Monday night and will be out indefinitely.
"It'll be a while before Buddy gets back," coach Lon Kruger said. "He loves to play, obviously, and it hurts everyone when that's taken away. So, we're disappointed by that."
A sparkplug who moved into the starting lineup just over a month into his freshman year, Hield was averaging 8.8 points while leading the team in steals and assists during Big 12 play. He was hurt just after making two free throws to put the Sooners up 57-30 with 7:44 left in the game.
Kruger said Hield's fifth metatarsal was broken, and team doctors would have to assess options for treatment before he'd know if Hield would be able to return this season.
"I have no idea," Kruger said. "Any time you have a fracture, it takes time to heal."
Romero Osby scored 12 points and Amath M'Baye scored 11 as Oklahoma (16-7, 7-4 Big 12) led from start to finish.
The Sooners held TCU scoreless for the first eight minutes, extended their lead to 25 by halftime and led by as much as 36 after Andrew Fitzgerald's three-point play to finish a 13-0 run with 13:17 left in the game.
During that stretch, Kruger put a lineup full of reserves into the game. But he went back to a group including four starters with about 12 minutes left in the middle of a string of nine straight TCU points.
Hield limped up the court and hobbled to the bench after a foul was called against M'Baye. He started to walk toward the tunnel to the locker room, but stopped and returned to the bench and took off his shoe before actually heading up the tunnel.
Hield is one of three freshmen -- and four newcomers -- who have made key contributions to the Sooners as they've put themselves on a trajectory toward the NCAA tournament after missing the postseason the past three years.
The victory pushed the Sooners past their win total from last season.
"I think they're playing as good as anybody in our league and, make no mistake about it, that's an NCAA tournament team. All they've got to do is remain healthy and continue to do what they're doing," said TCU coach Trent Johnson, without knowing the extent of Hield's injury.
"Obviously, we didn't give them any type of fight. We got off to a horrible start. They defended us probably as well as anybody has, and then we had some guys sort of trying to play for themselves."
Devonta Abron led TCU (10-14, 1-10) with 12 points and Kyan Anderson scored 11 on 4-for-19 shooting.
The Horned Frogs missed their first 14 shots, including a pair of air balls, and didn't get on the scoreboard until Adrick McKinney hit one of two free throws with 11:52 left before halftime. Their first basket didn't go in until Connell Crossland scored inside with 8:49 left in the first half.
The Sooners scored the game's first eight points, led 15-1 midway through the first half and were up 36-11 at halftime after TCU missed 20 of its 24 field-goal attempts.
The Horned Frogs came in rated last in the conference in scoring, shooting percentage, rebounds, steals and blocks and played nowhere near the same level as during a stunning upset of then-No. 5 Kansas last week.
On Saturday, the Sooners got their own win against Kansas, their first upset of a top 5 team since 2006.
"We were just trying to step our defensive intensity up and just keep it going from the Kansas game and not have any letdown," Osby said. "They beat Kansas, they're a really good team and we just tried to take them out of their stuff."
Without Hield, fellow freshmen Isaiah Cousins and Je'lon Hornbeak could end up with more playing time. Cameron Clark, who started the past two seasons before moving to a reserve role this season, could also absorb some of Hield's minutes.
"Our depth is good," Kruger said. "You don't like to see injury, of course. It's an unfortunate part of the game. But having good depth helps when you do have injury or foul trouble or whatever."
Kruger has started two freshmen all season long, with Hield in the lineup for the past 13 games. Early on, Hornbeak and Cousins were starting together. Hield has been alongside one or the other since mid-December.
"Buddy is a terrific guy and we all love him to death. I think everybody around campus loved him to death. He was just doing such a great job of giving us energy that we're definitely going to miss it," M'Baye said.
"Knowing Buddy, I know that from the court or from the bench he's still going to have the same production energy-wise to get us going."