They needed to fend off a furious second-half comeback, but the Oklahoma Sooners were able to buckle down pick up a crucial top-10 win over the West Virginia Mountaineers. OU improves to 6-2 on the season and 2-1 in Big 12 play with the 75-71 victory.
After a slow start offensively for both teams, the Sooners were able to go into the locker room with a 38-20 lead, and they did so with active team defense and some lights-out shooting from North Texas transfer Umoja Gibson. At halftime, West Virginia was 5/10 from downtown but a paltry 2/20 from inside the arc.
Oklahoma off to a great start against #9 West Virginia. pic.twitter.com/ChNWSCOqJy— OUHoops (@ouhoops) January 2, 2021
Unfortunately for OU, WVU’s three-point shooting got even hotter in the second half, as the Mountaineers hit 10 of their first 13 from deep between intermission and the five-minute mark. Meanwhile, Brady Manek and Austin Reaves were struggling mightily from the field, and WVU was able to draw even at 49 with just over 10 minutes remaining. Things went back and forth for the next five minutes before OU began to separate once again. Leading 62-60 with under four minutes remaining, the Sooners had what could later be considered one of the defining possessions of the season. Manek had a rough day from the field, but credit to him for contributing in any way he could.
From that point on, the Sooners didn’t look back, keeping the Mountaineers at arm’s length and making enough free throws to seal the deal.
Offensively, Gibson was the star of the day, scoring 29 points on 10/14 shooting and sinking 8/11 from downtown. Reaves added 13 on a much less efficient day (5/14, 1/9 from deep), but his late three and clutch free throws allowed OU to hold off the comeback.
Next up, the Sooners head to Waco for a Wednesday night matchup with the No. 2 Baylor Bears, which will tip off at 8 p.m. CT and air on ESPN2. That’ll be followed by a Saturday trip to Lawrence to face the Kansas Jayhawks.