NCAA: Buddy Hield has his best game of the season


Sports Reporter


Saturday was a successful day for Bahamian basketball players in men’s division I basketball programmes across the NCAA with standout individual performances and thrilling upsets.

Leading the way for the Bahamian contingent was Buddy Hield and the No.7 ranked Oklahoma Sooners with another dominant performance and Hield turned in his best game of the season.

Hield finished one shy of his career high with 30 points and reached a career defensively with five steals in the Sooners’ 96-73 win over Oral Roberts.

The Sooners remain undefeated on the season at 7-0.

Despite his team leading performance, Hield remained critical of his team as they continue to be recognised by pundits as a contender for the national title.

“We missed a couple of assignments and didn’t pick up our man, but we fixed it in the second half. We can’t let that happen against good teams, we have to communicate a little better,” he said.

“It felt good out there tonight, just tried to remain aggressive and let the game come to me. My teammates found me in good spots and I had confidence knocking down the shots or finishing with a drive.

The Sporting News named the Grand Bahama native as a preseason third team All-American. He was also named to the preseason watch list for the Jerry West award, given to the nation’s top scoring guard.

On the year Hield is averaging a career high 22.1 points along with five rebounds per game.

Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn Jr and the Michigan State Spartans remain the top ranked team in the NCAA after a 58-52 win over the Florida Gators as they improved to 11-0.

The Spartans didn’t put up huge scoring numbers, but they did finish with 18 assists on 21 field goals. Nairn led the Spartans with five assists.

The No.1 ranked Spartans won the rematch of the 2000 national title contest and the team was honoured during the game, something Nairn said served as an inspiration to the team.

“It was definitely a blessing having them in the building and in the locker room before the game. There were a lot of emotions flowing through us before the game. I just think it was a special atmosphere tonight. We can’t win without Spartan nation.

“The `Izzone’ was incredible, and they are every single game no matter who we play. But tonight I thought they were extra loud, and extra crazy. They gave us a major boost,” Nairn said.

“As the No. 1 team in the country, every night we’re going to get someone’s best shot. We prepared for that, and we were able to take those punches and those hits and just find a way to win.”

It was the sixth game this season that Nairn dished out at least five assists. He is currently averaging 3.2 points and 4.5 assists per game this season.

In a major upset, Shaquille Cleare and the University of Texas Longhorns topped the No. 3 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels 84-82 in a thriller.

Cleare saw just four minutes in the game, which was the first signature win of the programme in the Shaka Smart era.

The Andros native is currently averagining 2.6 points and 2.8 yards

The Longhorns improved to 6-3 on the season with their first win over a ranked team.

Also in the state of Texas, Tavario Miller and the A & M Aggies won 78-68 over the Kansas State Wildcats to improve to 8-2.


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