NEW YORK -- Buddy Hield made two free throws with 9.3 seconds to give Oklahoma the lead after a frantic rally, and the Sooners beat Seton Hall 86-85 on Friday night in the first semifinal of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
Trailing by six with less than a minute to play, Oklahoma (4-0) converted two steals on inbounds plays to rally for a chance to play the winner of No.1 Michigan State-Virginia Tech in the final on Saturday night.Oklahoma's Isaiah Cousins, a local star from Mount Vernon who had 19 points, hit a basket to make it 84-79 with 51 seconds left. Seton Hall's Sterling Gibbs then made one of two free throws -- missing his first of 15 attempts in the second half. Gibbs led all scorers with 26 points.Cameron Clark followed with a layup then, after a timeout, he stole the inbounds pass and made another layin. Jordan Woodward followed with another takeaway and was fouled. He converted 1 of 2 free throws to make it a one-point game with 21 seconds left.After Clark missed a layup and Seton Hall (3-2) failed to control the rebound, Hield was fouled. He made both free throws to give the Sooners their first lead since 17:59 in the second half.Brian Oliver, who had 19 points, missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer, giving Oklahoma the win in the in the first meeting between the teams since P.J. Carlesimo's Pirates and Billy Tubbs' Sooners split a pair of games in 1990-91.Clark led the Sooners with 20 points. Hield had 13 and Woodward scored 12. Ryan Spangler had 10 rebounds and 12 points for Oklahoma, a club with only two seniors returning from the team that reached the NCAA tournament last year.Seton Hall's Patrik Auda reinjured the foot that cost him nearly all of last season and will have a CT scan to assess the severity of the damage. He scored two points in just 10 minutes.Oliver made 5 of 13 3-pointers for Seton Hall, but made only one in the second half. Eugene Teague had 10 points and nine rebounds. Gibbs, Seton Hall's leading scorer, had just seven points in the first half, but made 17 of 20 free throws overall in leading Seton Hall in a second-half surge.Seton Hall used a 22-8 run to open a 63-52 lead after trailing 44-41 at halftime. But things fell apart after that.Oklahoma was playing its first game since beating Idaho on Nov. 13 but it was Seton Hall that struggled to keep up early. The Pirates fumbled away several opportunities under the basket and missed easy layups. Meanwhile, Oklahoma's Cousins scored nine of the Sooners first 11 points and Oklahoma opened a 27-18 lead with 8:57 to go in the half.But Oliver then made three of his four first-half 3-pointers during Seton Hall's 15-5 run to take a 33-32 lead with 3:46 left in the half. Oliver traded 3s with Frank Booker before Tyler Neal made two late shots to give Oklahoma a 44-41 lead at the half.