WVU Wins One Versus Top 25

Staff Writer
Posted Feb 5, 2014


It took overtime, but West Virginia has finally beaten a top 25 team for the first time since 2012.

The Mountaineers took down No. 21 Oklahoma 91-86 in overtime on Wednesday evening at the WVU Coliseum despite giving up a 14-point second-half lead and having to hit a desperation three to take it to overtime.

"We're dialed in. We want to win these games," said junior point guard Juwan Staten. "If you look at everybody on our team, we're all playing for each other. The goal is to win, so we're going to do whatever it takes to win."

It was the first win over a top-25 team for the Mountaineers since Jan. 7, 2012 when they beat then-No. 9 Georgetown at the Coliseum. The upset over the Sooners broke a streak of 16-consecutive losses against top 25 competition.

"I think that's all bullsh*t to be honest with you," said WVU head coach Bob Huggins about his team's first win over a top 25 since moving to the Big 12. "The schedule we play year in and year out, what do you want me to do? We play tough teams all the time."

Huggins added: "They’re good guys. They want to win. They all talk about wanting to do a good job ... and we’re getting better. You’re talking about a whole bunch of guys that don’t have a ton of experience. The more experience you have … the easier it is to make adjustments because you have a frame of reference."

It was the second time since WVU (14-9, 6-4) moved to the Big 12 that the Mountaineers have won three straight games in conference play – and the first time it hasn’t included TCU or Texas Tech. Oklahoma (17-6, 6-4) is tied for third with WVU in the Big 12 standings.

This is the first win over Oklahoma in either football of men’s basketball since the Mountaineers moved to the Big 12.

The Mountaineers, after being selected to finish eighth in the Big 12 Conference, is currently tied for third behind just No. 8 Kansas and No. 15 Texas. WVU lost to the Sooners three times in men’s basketball a year ago.

"We're playing basketball the way we're taught to play," Staten said. "We don't worry about records, rankings and opponents. We just go out there and do what our coaches ask us to do ... We want to keep winning, that's for sure.'

Sophomore guard Eron Harris hit a three with 20.1 seconds to play to tie the game at 81-81 and end an 11-1 run by the Sooners. A 3-pointer from Oklahoma went long, and the game headed to overtime.

In overtime, Harris hit two threes that gave the Mountaineers a lead heading into the final minute. A jumper from Staten with under 59 seconds to play put WVU up 89-86. On the other end, OU guard Tyler Neal missed two opportunities at threes, and WVU freshman forward Devin Williams secured a rebound and called a timeout with 36.4 seconds and the ball.

Staten hit one of two free throws with 29 seconds to go. After a timeout from Oklahoma, the Mountaineers forced a turnover. Freshman forward Nathan Adrian hit a free throw to seal the victory.

Harris had just two points in eight minutes in the first half due to foul trouble but was more successful in the second half and in overtime. He carried the team in the final 25 minutes and finished with 28 points.

"Eron was terrific. He made a hard shot. He made a hard, hard shot. I told them, I’m 60. They’ve got to stop doing this. I could do this a bit better when I was younger," Huggins said.

It was his second-highest point total of the season and first time he's hit 21 or more points in a game since Jan. 4.

"You are very sure of your shots in games like this. You know if you take them, they're going to go in," Harris said. "I've been in the gym a lot, a lot, a lot, and I think the basketball gods down on me ... God looked down on me, because I was doing the right thing."

Staten, coming off his huge game against Kansas State, was less effective against the Sooners particularly in the second half. He still finished with his second career double-double (20 points, 10 rebounds and six assists). He only scored seven points in the second half and overtime, however.

Sophomore Terry Henderson scored 17 points.

WVU’s forwards dealt with foul trouble all game long. It has been a problem for the Mountaineers throughout conference play. Williams finished with eight points and seven rebounds.

The Mountaineers shot 39 percent, while the Sooners shot 41 percent. WVU took 32 threes and made 11 of them - six from Harris. Oklahoma made just 5-of-19 threes.

The game would stay close and go back and forth over the first 10 minutes despite some early foul trouble. Down by one, the Mountaineers would put together an 8-0 run (four points each from Staten and Williams) to go up 24-17.

The Mountaineers would take a double-digit lead for the first time – and the first for either team – with under five minutes to play in the first half on a three from junior forward Remi Dibo.

A demonstrative three from the left wing from Henderson forced a timeout from OU at 37-25.

The Mountaineers would head to the locker room up 11 at half behind a nifty drive and layup by Staten in the final 20 seconds of the half. Over the final 10:48 of the first half, West Virginia went on a 27-15 run to take the commanding halftime lead. Henderson and Staten scored 17 of those 27 points.

Harris scored the Mountaineers’ first eight points including two threes. Oklahoma would cut the halftime lead by one in that span to make it 51-41 WVU. Harris played just eight minutes in the first half due to foul trouble and scored just two points.

A controversial call that led to many boos from fans at the Coliseum allowed OU to start a run with about 13 minutes to play. The Sooners would cut the Mountaineers’ lead to six points at the under-12 timeout.

The Sooners would get hot from the field, as the WVU defense just wasn’t effective. Oklahoma made it a 61-58 on a three from guard Tyler Neal to force a timeout from the home team.

West Virginia would grow its lead back to seven at two different points, but OU was right there to cut the lead back down. Another three from Neal made it a four-point contest at 77-73 with under four minutes to play.

With 1:38 to play, forward Ryan Spangler drove to the lane and scored a layup and was fouled by Harris. The free throw gave the Sooners the lead at 79-78 for the first time since the 10:27 mark of the first half.

After two more free throws by the Sooners to give them a three-point lead, Henderson took a three early in the shot clock that didn’t hit rim to give the ball back to OU. Harris hit the tying three after that.

Dibo fouled out with 4:50 to play. He had four points. Fellow forward Kevin Noreen fouled out, as well.

Oklahoma was led by guard Jordan Woodard, who had 23 points. Three others had 10 or more points.

WVU outrebounded the Sooners by two and had eight more second-chance points. OU had a 14-point advantage in the paint.



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