After trailing through a majority of the second half, the Oklahoma Sooners found themselves with a slim lead over the West Virginia Mountaineers. However, an unimaginable series of events were waiting to unfold in the final seconds of play.
Regaining the lead on a jump shot made by Jaysean Paige, the 'Eers looked to create a turnover. Calling the final timeout of the game, Lon Kruger hoped to counter with a drawn up play. Catching the ball in bounds, Isaiah Cousins dribbled up the court. Leaping into the air, he turned finding a wide open Christian James.
James staring down the lane, drove to the rim. Potentially expecting a bit more contact than he received, James' finger roll landed short forcing OU to foul Jonathan Holton who had not shot a free throw all night long. Connecting on his second attempt, the entire Big XII looked on as WVU held a two point lead with 1.8 second remaining on the clock.
Taking the ball out of bounds, Ryan Spangler found Buddy Hield making his way up the court. After a few dribbles, the star of the Sooners launched a half court prayer that banked in unofficially giving Oklahoma a win. With multiple angles of review available for the officiating crew, the shot was waved off. The ruling? Hield still had the ball in his hands when the clock his 00:00.
West Virginia moves on to play for the Big XII Championship after failing to secure a win in previous years.
Jevon Carter played one of his best games to date knocking down numerous three pointers. Finishing with 26 points, Carter connected on 6-of-9 from beyond the arc effectively becoming the only starter for Bob Huggins to finish with double digits in scoring.
Defensively, West Virginia kept Buddy Hield, who recorded two first half points and six for the game, in check. Forcing 21 turnovers through the course of the game, the physicality and pressure defense kept Oklahoma off their game as a whole.
Yet, James found a new level turning in a career high 13 point performance. Scoring eight of his thirteen over a five minute span, the comeback effort was started by this freshman. Could this be the bench production Oklahoma needed just before the start of the NCAA Tournament? Quite possibly.
Now awaiting Selection Sunday, the Sooners will likely find themselves picking up a No. 2 Seed in the tournament.