MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Oklahoma’s strong second half propelled the Sooners to a 67-57 victory over West Virginia Saturday afternoon in Big 12 Conference basketball action at the WVU Coliseum.
It was the league opener for both teams, although Oklahoma defeated West Virginia, 77-70, in Orlando during Thanksgiving break and will go for the regular season trifecta in Norman on March 6.
“We had shots around the rim and don’t make them,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “They get shots around the rim and they make them.”
West Virginia used the 3-ball in the first half to build a 35-29 lead at the break, and then another Terry Henderson 3 from the wing built West Virginia’s advantage to 10, 41-31, at the beginning of the second half. Then on its next possession, West Virginia got two more on a Juwan Staten layup to give the Mountaineers their biggest lead of the game, 43-31, forcing Oklahoma to call timeout.
After the stoppage in play, the Sooners clamped down on Henderson and eventually chipped away at West Virginia’s lead, getting it to nine on a pair of Romero Osby free throws before a couple more Osby baskets reduced West Virginia’s margin to three, 45-42, with 12:38 remaining.
“We got up 12 and had some good shots and didn’t make them,” said Huggins. “And they iso’d our bigs. Every play was an iso on our bigs and if they didn’t score it they passed it or got fouled.”
Steven Pledger retrieved Cameron Clark’s airball from the wing for an easy bucket to tie the game at 48, and then the Sooners took their first lead since the 10-minute mark of the first half on a Clark dunk that turned into three points when he was fouled by Kevin Noreen on the play and converted his free throw.