Many expected this game to physical in a hurry. While the physical presence is something you cannot recreate in a practice, Oklahoma came prepared for West Virginia. After all, the Big XII is known for its physical style of play.
Anticipating the physicality of a Bob Huggins West Virginia Mountaineers team is something that cannot be replicated in practices. However, this is the Big XII and the Oklahoma Sooners are used to go head-to-head with some of the most physically dominating players.
Yet again, the Sooners looked to be off to a slow start with turnovers and missed shots. The saving grace has become a bit of a trend for Oklahoma as they tend to put together a run toward the end of the halves.
While Romero Osby has had a great outing at the tournament, it was his counterpart, Amath M'Baye who had his turn to shine. M'Baye poured in 19 points to go along with 6 rebounds in route to a Sooner victory sealing up 3rd Place in the Old Spice Classic. Helping along the way was freshman Je'lon Hornbeak who has also been outstanding throughout this tournament. Hornbeak added 14 points and 5 rebounds of his own.
For West Virginia it is was none other than Deniz Kilicli making his presence known with 13 points and 4 rebounds. While the WVU guards have not had much of an impact due to size limitations and poor outside shooting, it was Juwan Staten who had a team high 15 points.
Many expected this game to get physical in a hurry. The rebounding margin is one of the few tell-tale signs of just how well teams cope with the physicality of the opponent. In total, Oklahoma out rebounded the Mountaineers by a margin of +2. The 38 total boards consisted of 15 second chance points opportunities on the offensive glass.
The second tell-tale sign of how well a team copes with the physicality of the opponent is how many times they get to the free throw line. Players like Buddy Hield and Cam Clark excel when slashing toward the basket with the ball. But, the Sooners only make 25 trips to the charity stripe while converting 19 of those attempts.
It was all but over when Oklahoma went on a 7-0 run trailing 63-62 with just under four minutes to play. This was lead that OU would not relinquish and rode to a 3rd place victory over a Big XII foe.