With Devin Williams watching from the sidelines with an illness, #15 West Virginia (18-4) fell to #21 Oklahoma (15-7) tonight in Norman 71-52.
With Williams out sick and Elijah Macon picking up two quick fouls, Oklahoma feasted on buckets in the paint. The Sooners took their first double-digit lead ten minutes in, extended it to as many as 19, and led at the half 38-24.
It's expected that WVU will have more fouls than their opponents, but the first ten minutes of tonight's game took that to another level. Oklahoma didn't commit their first foul until the 10:37 mark in the first half. West Virginia had already picked up 8 at that point. The Mountaineers didn't attempt a free throw until Eljiah Macon missed two with 15:38 to go in the GAME. The Sooners were definitely the more aggressive team tonight.
#PressVirginia was a little more effective early in the second half, and a 8-0 Mountaineer run cut the Sooner lead from 43-27 to 43-35 with 13:37 to go. Eight points would be as close as they got, though, and the Sooners pulled away again for the 19 point victory.
West Virginia once again struggled mightily from beyond the three point line. The Mountaineers made only 5 of 26 attempts from deep. Oklahoma only took 11, and still made more than WVU (6).
Oklahoma was really, really good tonight. Even with Devin Williams, this one likely ends up in the loss column for the Mountaineers. There's a lot of talent on that team.
The Sooners for the most part had little trouble with the WVU pressure. Oklahoma committed only 13 turnovers, while West Virginia had 15.
Juwan Staten led West Virginia with 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists. Gary Browne was the only other player in double figures, scoring 12 and adding 6 rebounds. Elijah Macon, who replaced Devin Williams in the starting lineup, finished with 8 points and 4 rebounds. No one else had more than 5.
Buddy Hield, the favorite to win Big 12 Player of the Year, scored 21 points on 8-13 shooting and 5-7 from three. Jordan Woodard added 12 and 5 rebounds. Ryan Spangler and Isaiah Cousins each had 10.
- Starters: Staten, Browne, Miles, Holton, Macon
- In Saturday's Texas Tech recap, I wondered if Huggins would sit Brandon Watkins tonight after his salute to the Tech players. Huggins must halve felt sitting him in the second half on Saturday was enough.
- Nathan Adrian was 1-5 from three. :(
- A win tonight would have put West Virginia in sole possession of second place in the Big 12. They're now tied with Iowa State.
- ESPN2 was having some audio issues for the first five minutes or so. WVU Twitter was not happy with this.
- I was surprised to see a a lot of empty seats in Norman tonight. Nowhere near a sellout.
- Toward the end of the game, the Oklahoma students broke out the dumbest chant in all of sports. "OVER-RATED!" Why would anyone chant "overrated?" Doesn't that sort of diminish your victory if you beat an "overrated" team? A team that beat you by 21 the game before, no less. Rant over.
Next up for the Mountaineers is a home game against #19 Baylor. The Bears are 16-5 overall and 4-4 in conference play. They're led by senior guard Kenny Chery, who averages nearly 11 points and 4 assists per game. The game will tip Saturday, February 7 at 12:00 PM and will be televised on ESPNU and streaming on the WatchESPN app.