After the Oklahoma Sooners built an 18+ point lead in each of the three previous true road games, the script flipped. From wire to wire, the West Virginia Mountaineers deployed a havoc style of defense including a constant full court press. Bob Huggins turned to the bench to provide quality minutes as well as scoring on Tuesday night as the 'Eers thrashed the visiting team 86-65 in front of less than impressive crowd.
Oklahoma Needs To Find Bench Scoring Fast
With Oklahoma's defensive focus squarely upon Juwan Staten, the WVU bench players torched the nets as the program fired up a grand total of 68 shots on the evening. Tallying up 55 bench points, the Huggins coached program made the statement, "if you plan to compete with us, depth becomes the defining attribute." West Virginia played a rotation of 11 different players who all scored, a number not many teams in the country can match. Unfortunately, the Sooners were not up to the task mustering a mere eight points off the bench leaving the heavy lifting once again to the starting five. If OU plans to compete with the likes of Iowa State and Kansas, bench scoring must increase allowing the starters minutes to decrease from 34 to the 28 range.
Road Wins Are Tough To Come By In Conference Play
Simply put, the Big XII remains the toughest conference from top to bottom. Defending home court becomes vital in the race for the crown as road wins are few and far between. Need evidence, look across the league and you'll find that the conference has dropped a combined 13 games at home on the season. Does that mean road wins won't occur? Absolutely not as proven by Kansas State as well as Oklahoma.
A Blue Print To Defeat Oklahoma May Have Been Established
- Pressure ball handlers
- Crash the boards
- Move the ball crisply
Of course, Buddy Hield is going to be Buddy Hield as he led all scorers once again with 21 points. However, the constant pressure of West Virginia gave the rest of the Sooners fits all evening forcing 22 turnovers (16 steals). With active hands and busy bodies, WVU out rebounded Oklahoma 42-35 earning multiple shots on a single possession. Not only did Huggins' team find success on defense and on the glass, they also moved the ball well to the tune of 20 assists. Oklahoma never caught their breath and looked flustered all night due to these three things.