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Oklahoma leaves little doubt, crushes Texas A&M

By Jack Magruder, The Sports Xchange   |   March 25, 2016 at 12:10 AM

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Oklahoma guards Jordan Woodard and Buddy Hield made certain that Texas A&M's March miracles stopped here.

Woodard had 22 points and five 3-pointers and Hield had 17 points and 10 rebounds as the Sooners advanced to the NCAA West Region final with a 77-63 victory over the Aggies on Thursday at Honda Center.

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"I just wanted to lock in," Woodard said. "A lot of attention goes on the other guys, so I've got to be ready and find an open spot."

The Aggies overcame a 12-point deficit in the final 44 seconds of regulation in their 92-88 double-overtime victory over Northern Iowa in Oklahoma City on Sunday. Even after going to a man-to-man press in the final six minutes Thursday, they never were closer than 11 points.

"We knew they weren't going to quit," Oklahoma forward Ryan Spangler said.

Neither was Oklahoma.

Freshman center Tyler Davis, the focal point of the offense in the second half, had 17 points and eight rebounds for Texas A&M (28-9).

Davis had 13 points in the second half, seven in the first 3 1/2 minutes as the Aggies pounded the ball inside and cut their deficit to 53-42 five minutes into the second half.

Hield and Woodard hit three to lift the Sooners back in front 64-46.

Hield, who had 36 points against VCU to reach the West Regional, took only 13 field goal attempts.

Freshman guard Christian James had 12 points and tied a season high with four 3-pointers, and Oklahoma (28-7) was never threatened after using a 34-9 run in the first half to take a 19-point halftime lead. The Sooners meet Oregon or Duke on Saturday for a berth in the Final Four.

"When we have ball movement and ball flow, everybody gets good shots," said Hield, the two-time Big 12 Player of the Year who entered averaging 25.4 points and four 3-pointers per game.

Oklahoma made 11 of 25 from 3-point range while shooting 49.2 percent from the field. The Sooners had 23 assists.

"We just tried to keep him from touching the ball as much as possible," said A&M guard Alex Caruso, who had the primary defensive assignment on Hield.

"The other guys did a good job. We might not have given them enough credit. The two other guards and their bigs played really well for them, too."

Texas A&M shot 34.4 percent from the field and made only 13 of 24 free throws. They were 11 for 22 from the line in the second half, unable to take advantage of the Sooners' early foul trouble.

"They're the best team we've played," Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy said. "It's not a question in my mind.

"We just felt like we had a tough time matching up with their quickness, and when we had opportunities to score we struggled. I just wish we could have played better in the game because we definitely are capable of playing better than we played."

Woodard had 14 points and three 3-pointers and Hield scored 11 points in the first half as the Sooners blew out to a 45-26 lead.

James' 3-pointer from the left baseline with 11:38 remaining tied the score at 18 and came in the early stages of the huge run that gave Oklahoma a 40-22 lead. The Aggies were 3 of 17 from the field after Woodard's tying 3-pointer.

Woodard had two 3-pointers and Hield scored six points during the run, including a 3-pointer with 1:46 left in the half.

"I thought we played with a freedom in the first half that we needed to," Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said.

NOTES: Oklahoma, appearing in its 30th NCAA Tournament, has made the Final Four in three of its previous nine trips to the West Regional. The Sooners advanced in 1993, 1947 and 2002, the last time led by guard Hollis Price, who played in four straight NCAA tournaments. ... Texas A&M set a school record with 28 victories. ... Texas A&M was 4-0 against the Big 12 during the regular season, beating Texas, Kansas State, Baylor and Iowa State. ... Oklahoma's Lon Kruger is the only coach to take five teams to the NCAA Tournament. Kansas State, Florida, Illinois and UNLV are the others. ... The West Regional is the only one that featured the top four seeds.

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