After the night Buddy Hield had against West Virginia, it looked like the basketball gods were finally giving the Oklahoma star a break.
The Mountaineers and their “Press Virginia” style of defense broke Hield down on Friday night in the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament. Held, who averaged more than 25 points per game during the season, had just six points against West Virginia.
For exactly 1.8 seconds, it looked as if Hield would have nine points on the night, to give the Sooners a win.
Hield heaved a half court attempt, while Jaysean Paige and Tarik Phillip had hands in his face. At the buzzer, Hield’s shot banked in the hoop.
At the buzzer? Or after?
Upon further review, after Hield had already ran onto the broadcasters’ table and into the crowd, the shot was discounted.
The ball was still in his hands as the clock hit zero and the red lights appeared around the backboard.
"“I thought it was good, so I went and celebrated. The gym thought it was good too,” said Hield.“Time wasn’t on my side, I guess.”"
ESPN television cameras captured Hield’s celebration for a good 30 seconds. Shortly after, Phillip was seen high-fifing his WVU teammate Devin Williams.
Why? Because he had heard that the shot was not let go in time.
That proved to be true and the Mountaineers escaped with a 69-67 victory and will now face Kansas for the Big 12 Tournament championship.
"“It was like a movie. They have the camera on the main character the whole time,” WVU sophomore Jevon Carter said. “Championship game, it’s going to be a tough game – main character makes the last shot. So when he made that I was like, ‘Is this possible?'”"
As fitting as it would have been for Hield’s shot to go in, it was more fitting that the Mountaineers stopped him.
The WVU basketball team forced 21 Oklahoma turnovers, while limiting Hield to his lowest point total of the season.
Hield was only 1 of 8 from the field and 1 of 6 from behind-the-arc.
No team has been able to stop Hield like the Mountaineers did on Friday. He was just coming off a 39-point performance against Iowa State on Thursday.
And, against West Virginia earlier in the season, Hield was equally as impressive. He scored 17 and 29 points against the Mountaineers in a pair of victories by the Sooners.
Some say WVU was lucky in this one. Not quite.
What was lucky was the fashion that Hield sunk the half court shot, which did not count, by the way.
The Mountaineers deserved to win this game because of their all-out defensive onslaught. Aside from a late run, where Oklahoma went on a 17-3 run, WVU was in control.
West Virginia can’t afford a lapse like that against Kansas.