The Oklahoma Sooners thoroughly handled the No. 13 West Virginia Mountaineers (18-5, 6-4) on Saturday, winning by a score of 69-59. With the victory over the nation’s No. 10 team in the NCAA NET Rankings, OU improved to 15-8 on the season and 5-5 in Big 12 play.
After failing to reach double-figures in scoring in the last five games, senior forward Kristian Doolittle had himself a lights-out performance, going 9/15 from the floor (2/3 from three) for 27 points and 12 rebounds. It was his second-highest scoring output of the season (28 against North Texas), and third-highest rebounding total.
It was a slow start to the day for both teams, but a 17-2 Oklahoma run over an eight-minute stretch in the first half gave the Sooners a brief 10-point lead over West Virginia. The Mountaineers would use their size and strength advantages in the paint to bully their way back to within four, but a De’Vion Harmon three just before the break extended OU’s lead, making it a 31-24 contest at halftime.
De'Vion Harmon's buzzer beater gives Oklahoma a 31-24 halftime lead. pic.twitter.com/TvxRPYAPvs— OUHoops (@ouhoops) February 8, 2020
In the second half, the Sooners kept WVU at bay for nearly all 20 minutes. From the get-go, Oklahoma stayed in front behind Doolittle’s hot shooting and Brady Manek’s timely offense. After missing a significant portion of the first half with foul trouble, Austin Reaves was able to generate a little offense by aggressively driving to the basket and getting to the free throw line. Jamal Bieniemy and Harmon were also key contributors down the stretch as OU’s lead ballooned to as much as 18 points with under five minutes left of the contest. West Virginia would finally live up to its reputation by applying extreme amounts of full-court pressure, but it was too little, too late for a would-be miracle comeback.
Your Sooners are playing some ball against #13 West Virginia. pic.twitter.com/irr7Ar6sWz— OUHoops (@ouhoops) February 8, 2020
Remarkably, West Virginia took 76 shots from the field compared to just 49 from Oklahoma, but only managed to make two more. For as efficient as the Sooners were on the day (44.9%), the Mountaineers were just as inefficient (31.6%). It’s not often you’ll see OU lose the offensive rebounding and turnover battles by 12 and 8, respectively, yet still win by a double-digit margin, but that’s exactly what happened on Saturday.
OU picked a good time to earn its first win over a ranked opponent. Coming into the weekend, Oklahoma was projected as an 11 seed and one of the Last Four In according to Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology report. Entering Saturday, WVU was No. 10 in the NCAA’s NET Rankings, so it goes without saying that this one is pretty enormous. Going forward, the Sooners likely need to earn at least one more high-quality win in order to feel comfortable about its chances for an NCAA Tournament berth.
Up next, Oklahoma welcomes Iowa State to the LNC on Wednesday, Feb. 12. The Cyclones have won six of the last seven meetings with the Sooners, including an 81-68 demolition in Ames earlier this season. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
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