As the NCAA Division I basketball season moves into the second phase of its calender, several Bahamian players began their conference play schedule on a high note.
Bahamians hoopers have been active in week one play of the Big 12, SEC, Big Ten, PAC 12, American Athletic Conference and the Big South Conference.
Hield had his best game of the season in the Big 12 opener with his first double double of they year Saturday afternoon.
The junior guard totaled 20 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in the No.18 Sooners’ 73-63 win over no.22 Baylor.
On two consecutive possessions, Hield took rebounds and in transition pulled up to make three pointers.
His mini run sparked a 21-10 run to close the first half and saw the Sooners move ahead for good.
“I got a rebound, I saw an opening and after that, they stopped. I saw an opening and I just said, ‘Shoot it.’ Coach (Kruger) wants me to shoot the ball. I got the next rebound and saw another opening. It was a momentum changer. Shots will change the game. I feel like it was a shot I could make so I just stepped up and made the shot.”
Hield said his team has the conference title in its sights.
“That’s in every team’s head in the Big 12. Everybody wants to be a champion. We are just going to take one game at a time and hope for that. We want to be the champions, that’s our goal and I’m sure coach Kruger is thinking that, too. We’re just going to take it one game at a time,” he said.
Hield is currently averaging 16 points and 5.4 rebounds per game while shooting 40 per cent from the field, 38 per cent from three-point range and 83 per cent from the free throw line.
Within conference play last season, Hield had some of his best performances all year.
In Big 12 play he averaged 17.5 points per game, ranked No.8, was second in steals at 1.6 per game and shot 43 per cent from three-point range. He finished tied for the Big 12 lead in three-point makes at 3.5 per game, with Brady Heslip of Baylor Bears.
In the 2013-14 campaign, Hield was recognised among the best players in his conference when he was named to the All-Big 12 second team.
Hield and the Sooners will face Big 12 powerhouse, the no.11 Texas Longhorns tonight at 9pm broadcast live on ESPN.
In the Big South, Tristian Curtis has seen increased playing time and a move to the starting lineup in recent weeks for the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.
Curtis finished just short of a double double for the third consecutive game when he finished with eight points and eight rebounds in the Chanticleers 83-74 win over Charleston Southern.
The win moved Coastal Carolina to 2-0 in conference play and 10-3 overall.
On the season, Curtis averages 5.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.
In the past three games since the move to the starting lineup, he has averaged 9.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.
Curtis and the Chanticleers will look to go stay undefeated in conference play when they face the Longwood Lancers Thursday at home in the HTC Center.
In the American Athletic Conference, the Bahamian trio for the Houston Cougars was finally healthy and together on the court, but they remained winless in conference play.
Houston fell to 7-6 on the season after a 72-54 loss to Tulsa.
Danrad Knowles finished with eight points, five rebounds and four assists, LJ Rose added 12 points and six assists while Mikhail McLean added two points and two rebounds.
Knowles is averaging nine points and 6.2 rebounds per game while Rose has averaged 10 points and 5.2 assists per game since returning from knee injury.
McLean, the only senior of the group and team captain, averages 2.6 points and 1.9 rebounds per game.
Lourawls Nairn Jr and the Michigan State Spartans will open conference play in the Big 10 against the Indiana Hoosiers tonight at home at 7pm at the Breslin Center.
Dwight Coleby and the Ole Miss Rebels will open conference play in the SEC against the no.1 ranked Kentuky Wildcats, tomorrow night on the road at 7pm.