It seemed at first the atmosphere, the emotion, was getting to Oklahoma shooting star Buddy Hield.
He got his shots in the first half, 11 of them, but only four found their mark. He was 1-of-5 from 3-point range, though he came into the game shooting a scarcely believable 52.3 percent beyond the arc.
It was loud inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, as Hield expected.
“I figured it was going to be loud by watching the football games (in Tiger Stadium) and how crazy it is,” Hield said. “Even during warm-ups the fans were shouting.”
You watch a lot of LSU football, do you Buddy?
“Yes, sir, I do,” Hield said with a smile. “(Leonard) Fournette’s a good player.”
LSU’s star tailback was one of the 13,882 in the PMAC’s madding crowd, wearing his own No. 7 jersey. And he saw, in the end, that No. 24 in red is a pretty good player, too.
Hield roared to life like a campfire in the second half making 7-of-10 3-point attempts to finish the game with 32 points, leading the No. 1-ranked Sooners back from a 14-point deficit with just under 16 minutes left for a 77-75 win.
Oklahoma improved to 18-2 while LSU slipped to 13-8.
The Tigers did a nice job defensively on Hield in the first half. LSU put 6-foot-6 Tim Quarterman on him, long-armed and quick. That strategy at least helped keep Hield to a manageable number.
Eventually, though, Hield just found too many places, even when well-guarded, from which to make shots. His back-to-back 3-pointers from in front of the Oklahoma bench gave the Sooners a 66-65 lead with 4:04 left, their first since 16:34 of the first half.
Asked if he’d ever tried to guard a player like Hield before, LSU phenom Ben Simmons replied: “Yeah. James Harden.”
The Houston Rockets’ star attended a Nike camp with Simmons, Hield and Blakeney this summer. At that camp, Hield playfully boasted to Simmons (who scored 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting) and Blakeney he’d hang 46 points on the Tigers come January.
He didn’t, but he did plenty.
“Buddy obviously made a lot of big plays down the stretch to get us back in the game,” OU coach Lon Kruger said.
By finding his shot, he found a way to make LSU’s loud crowd hush.
Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter, @RabalaisAdv.