Mountaineers miss a big opportunity at Oklahoma on Saturday

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NORMAN, Okla. (WVU Athletics) -- Kristian Doolittle did a lot for Oklahoma in today's 69-59 victory over 13th-ranked West Virginia.

The 6-7 senior forward scored a game-high 27 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, made all seven of his free throw attempts and handed out an assist in leading the Sooners achieve an important quadrant 1 victory this afternoon.

Forward Brady Manek contributed 11 points and eight rebounds for Oklahoma (15-8, 5-5), which had a 42-41 rebounding advantage over West Virginia.

The Mountaineers (18-5, 6-4) had another difficult afternoon shooting the basketball. WVU took 27 more shots than the Sooners (76 to 49) but missed 52 of them – many of those close to the basket.

West Virginia's two primary inside scorers Oscar Tshiebwe and Derek Culver shot a combined 7-of-26 from point-blank range and the complimentary players were not much better.

Jermaine Haley scored a team-high 15 points but was only 6-of-14 from the floor.

Freshman guard Deuce McBride was 4 for 10, Chase Harler and Taz Sherman were both 2 for 6, Emmitt Matthews Jr. 1 for 5, Gabe Osabuohien 1 for 4 and Brandon Knapper missed all four of his shot attempts.

"Twenty-two misses within two feet of the basket … what other explanation is there?" West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said during his postgame radio show. "We took 76 shots. One of our guards took three shots, two of them didn't hit anything and one of them hit the backboard before it hit the rim.

"How do you explain that?"

West Virginia couldn't make it up at the free throw line either because it couldn't get there against an OU team that doesn't foul much. The Mountaineers made 5 of 8 compared to the Sooners' 18 of 21 from the charity stripe.

Two big runs by Oklahoma opened up double-digit leads in both halves, their biggest margin coming with 6:08 remaining in the game at 18.

An announced crowd of just 6,315 witnessed this one.

Miles McBrideThe loss was West Virginia's fourth in conference play this year away from the Coliseum and if Texas Tech beats Texas later today, it will move into a third-place tie with the Mountaineers with Oklahoma one game behind them in fifth place.

"We won the other day and everyone said, 'Why are you so down?' I saw this coming. You do this 40-some years and you kind of figure it out," Huggins said. "I tried to talk to them about it and they're not the same guys. That's attitude. I'm not in charge of their attitude and their teammates are not in charge of their attitude – they're in charge of their own attitude."

West Virginia's next two are against one and two in the Big 12 – third-ranked Kansas on Wednesday night at the WVU Coliseum and then a meeting at No. 1-ranked Baylor in Waco on Saturday afternoon.

As of today, there were less than 200 tickets remaining for the Kansas game and those can be purchased by logging on to WVUGAME.com.

"We're good enough to beat any team in the country if we have the right frame of mind," Huggins said. "Somehow we've got to have the right frame of mind."

Perhaps a large and vocal crowd on Wednesday night at the Coliseum can help the team get into the right frame of mind.

Earlier today, the NCAA Tournament selection committee revealed its top 16 seeds on CBS and West Virginia made the cut as a two-seed and the No. 8 overall.

Baylor and Kansas were No. 1 and No. 2 overall. The second bracket preview will be released next Saturday afternoon.