The Oklahoma Sooners men’s basketball team put an end to a four-game slide Wednesday night with a 72-62 victory over the West Virginia Mountaineers in Morgantown. The win brought OU’s overall record to 13-7 and 3-5 in Big 12 play.
The Sooners and Mountaineers collaborated on a contest that often looked like a weekend matchup at the local gym between elementary school teams. There was lots of falling. Passes flew around the court to no one in particular, and catching the ball was the ball cleanly was far from a given. Balls caromed out of bounds off dribblers’ feet. Layups were thrown over the rim, while free throws banked off the backboard.
In the end, OU’s top guns proved too much for West Virginia to handle. Big man Tanner Groves pumped in 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the field. He also led the Sooners with six rebounds. Forward Jacob Groves and guard Umoja Gibson each chipped in 12 points for the game.
Boomer Sooner— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) January 27, 2022
From the mountains! pic.twitter.com/4gs0HxksTp
Coach Porter Moser’s team got a major boost at the free-throw line, knocking down 21 of 22 attempts for the game. The Sooners also enjoyed a 32-26 edge in total rebounds over the hardscrabble Eers, who played the choppy brand of basketball that has become a calling card of legendary coach Bob Huggins. The teams combined for 32 turnovers in the game.
Even though it was one to forget for Huggy Bear, one of West Virginia’s favorite sons was actually coaching in his 500th game as head coach of the Mountaineers since he took the job in 2007. The milestone would have felt even worse for Huggins if forward Gabe Osabuohien hadn’t played his best game of the season. The reserve from Canada set a new career high in points with 17 to lead the Eers.
Even so, WVU’s struggles on the offensive end left the team at the mercy of the Sooners, who showed a knack for exploiting the Mountaineers’ aggressiveness on defense. Only six of OU’s 23 made field goals came from outside the lane, as the team made a point of taking WVU defenders off the dribble and attacking the rim.
Unfortunately, OU’s team won’t have much time to celebrate the upset road win. The Sooners head to Alabama next to tangle with the No. 1 team in the country, the Auburn Tigers, as part of this weekend’s Big 12-SEC challenge. After that interlude, they get back to taking on conference opponents with a home date against the TCU Horned Frogs.