- Associated Press - Sunday, January 3, 2016

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - Buddy Hield and Oklahoma passed a major test Saturday night.

A bigger one awaits.

Hield scored 22 points, and No. 3 Oklahoma beat No. 11 Iowa State 87-83 to match the school’s best start since the 1987-88 season at 12-0.

On Monday night, the Sooners will play at No. 2 Kansas in what could be a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown after No. 1 Michigan State lost to Iowa on Tuesday night.

“It’s going to be fun,” Hield said. “It’s going to be a matchup that everybody’s going to be watching. We’re going there to handle our business.”

The Sooners nearly slipped on the way to the dream matchup. Iowa State led for most of the second half, and Oklahoma led by two and had the ball in the final minute before turning it over. Iowa State’s Monte Morris had a good look, but missed a 3-pointer with 5.8 seconds to go. Hield made two free with 3.5 seconds remaining to put the game out of reach.

“As good a look as you’re going to get, especially on the road,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said. “I mean, a wide-open three.”

Georges Niang scored 29 points, and Deonte Burton had 14 of his 19 points in the second half for Iowa State (11-2).

Hield’s presence opened things up for his teammates. Ryan Spangler had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Isaiah Cousins scored all 15 of his points in the second half for the Sooners in the Big 12 opener for both teams.

Cousins went 0 for 6 from the field in the first half. He missed two more in the second half before finally connecting.

“We know he’s going to get it going for us,” Hield said. “Isaiah really stepped up and made some big plays when we needed them.”

Oklahoma, the nation’s top 3-point shooting team, made only 3 of 16 3s in the first half, but was 8 of 13 in the second.

“The second half was much more indicative of what we’ve done all year,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “We really haven’t had a half like the first half. Credit Iowa State for that. But I think we contributed by not passing the ball as freely as we typically do. We’ve got to do a better job of that Monday for sure.”

Hield missed four of his first five shots as Iowa State took an 18-9 lead. The Cyclones pushed their lead to 26-15 behind 11 early points by Niang.

Oklahoma’s Dinjiyl Walker provided a spark with seven points in a two-minute span to cut Iowa State’s advantage to 28-22. Iowa State held on to lead 41-37 at halftime. Hield made just two of his first eight shots in the first half, but made four of his last six to finish with 14 points before the break.

A 3-pointer by Jordan Woodard cut Iowa State’s lead to a point in the early minutes of the second half. The Sooners finally tied the score on a pair of free throws by Khadeem Lattin with just under six minutes to play, and the Sooners finally took the lead on a 3-pointer by Cousins. A lob from Cousins for a layup by Spangler gave the Sooners an 81-77 lead with 4:08 to play, but Iowa State battled back and made it a game to the end.

“It’s just tough to take this one,” Niang said. “I feel like we came in and played a great game.”

STAT LINES

The Cyclones shot 56.3 percent in the second half, yet, were outscored 50-42. Oklahoma outscored the Cyclones by five points at the 3-point line and five points at the free-throw line after the break.

QUOTABLE

Kruger, on the crowd being unusually loud: “Fantastic. I thought it was great. The seats were full. People were here. With the students gone, it makes it even more impressive … I thought it was as loud as any arena.”

PIVOTAL MOMENT

Morris dribbled the ball off his foot with 1:22 to go and Iowa State trailing by two. Oklahoma worked the clock, and Jordan Woodard drained a jumper from near the free-throw line as the shot clock expired with 53 seconds left to put Oklahoma ahead 85-81.

TIP-INS:

Cyclones: Niang passed Hercle Ivy and moved into eighth on Iowa State’s career scoring list. Niang has averaged 24.5 points in his past four games. … Niang fell two points short of his career high. … Jameel McKay had nine rebounds.

Sooners: Hield passed Eduardo Najera and moved into 9th place on Oklahoma’s career scoring list. … Oklahoma shot 50 percent in the second half. … Woodard had 14 points and seven assists. … Walker had 10 points in 11 minutes.

UP NEXT:

Cyclones: Host Texas Tech on Wednesday night.

Sooners: At Kansas on Monday night.

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This version corrects third paragraph saying it is Oklahoma’s second-best start in school history, clarifying that its 12-0 record matches the school’s best start since the 1987-88 season.

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Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP

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