Heading into this evening, the Oklahoma Sooners found themselves in a tie for second place in the Big XII Conference. However, a the second seed in the conference tournament wasn't the only thing on the line. With the NCAA Tournament just around the corner, OU is hoping to earn a favorable seeding projected at a four or five. Fortunately for the Sooners, they pulled away late to secure a 72-62 win over the West Virginia Mountaineers effectively keeping their hopes alive.
Knowing WVU is 10-0 in games in which they've held their opponent to 69 points or less. Immediately, that set Oklahoma's number to hit at 70 during the forty minutes of play. After holding a 33-28 lead at the half, it appeared as those the Sooners would not sniff a 70-point outing. That was until Buddy Hield caught fire from behind the arc.
After scoring a single point in the first half, Hield found his stride connecting on four 3-point attempts in just under a four minute span. The effort separated OU from the Mountaineers by nine points at 59-50 with 6:17 left to play. In an attempt to slow Buddy down, WVU took a timeout. From that point on, Hield remained scoreless as the talented sophomore finished with a 13 point performance. Yet, Oklahoma never looked back.
Cameron Clark remained consistent all night long. In his final home game, the senior guard/forward produced a double-double to leave his legacy. In 27 minutes Clark put up a team leading 19 points while pulling down 10 rebounds, something he can write home about.
Down the stretch, Bob Huggins team was without Eron Harris, their best three point shooter by far. Without him on the floor due to picking up five fouls, a majority of the scoring fell back on Juwan Staten. A talented player, Staten simply can't carry the load by himself and no one should expect him to. That's not to say his didn't carry his fair share of the responsibility as Staten finished with 24 points on the evening.
At one point during the game, Staten had collected 20 points while the rest of the Mountaineers has just 12.
The other bright spot for West Virginia was found in freshman Devin Williams. Having himself a great nonconference schedule, Williams numbers have dropped off since although that should be expected of a freshman. However, Williams showed why he will be a force to reckon with in the future as he poured in 14 points while grabbing 12 rebounds.
The Big XII is littered with talented underclassmen. Needless to say, the league will continue to be tops in the nation for years to come.
Stepping out into the bigger picture, the Sooners were outshot (42.2% to 41.8%) and outrebounded (39 to 37) by their opponent. In the end, it was three point shooting (11-of-30) as well as free throws (15-of-20) that helped Oklahoma pull away from West Virginia.