Thursday, October 27, 2016

No.11 WVU travels to Norman to battle No.2 Oklahoma

Jevon Carter weaves up court against Kansas (Photo Credit: Dale Sparks-All-Pro Photography/

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–After defeating the No.1 team in the country on Tuesday, No. 11 West Virginia has its hands full when they travel to Norman to take on No. 2 Oklahoma.

The Mountaineers are coming off a 74-63 win over the Kansas Jayhawks. Senior Jaysean Paige came off the bench and scored a career-high 26 points.

Now WVU has a chance to make history.

No team has faced 1-2 in consecutive regular-season games since Missouri in 1997. The Tigers split those games. No team has beaten top two AP teams in back to back regular-season games since Oklahoma in 1990 when they beat No. 1 twice. No team has taken down AP No. 1 and No. 2 in consecutive regular-season games since Kansas in 1989, which knocked off No. 2 LSU and No. 1 UNLV.

If the Mountaineers can take down the Sooners, it could put them in the top. Possibly even the top five.

The very team WVU beat on Tuesday defeated Oklahoma in a thrilling 109-106 in triple-overtime victory on Jan. 4 in a game where senior guard Buddy Hield scored 46 points.

The Sooners (14-1, 3-1 Big 12) are coming off a 74-72 win over Oklahoma State on Wednesday. Hield tallied 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds. He made six of 12 from beyond the arc.

The All-American candidate is averaging 26.6 points and 5.7 rebounding per game while shooting 51.8 percent from 3-point range.

While Hield is the big name on Oklahoma’s roster, he gets plenty of help in the backcourt from junior guard Jordan Woodard (15.3 ppg.) and Isaiah Cousins (12.1 ppg.).

Woodard has only failed not to score in double digits in just three games this season. He is shooting 55.1 percent from beyond the arc.

Cousins is no slouch in dropping 3s either. He is shooting 41.9 percent from 3.

“Their guards are terrific,” WVU head coach Bob Huggins said. “Cousins they’ve kind of given the ball to and he distributes the ball and Buddy Hield can get 46 against Kansas and I think he followed it up with (31) the next game (against Kansas State). He’s become everyone’s choice for the national player of the year and I think Woodard is really, really good.”

The scoring doesn’t stop there for Oklahoma. Ryan Spangler is a huge threat in the paint. The junior forward is averaging 11.2 points and 10.3 rebounds.

Khadeem Lattin is known for his defense, but the 6-foot-9 forward can score too. He is averaging 6.6 point and 6.9 rebounds.

One advantage the Mountaineers may have is the Sooners’ starting five play a lot of minutes, and WVU may be able to use its deep bench and smothering press to wear down Oklahoma.

The Mountaineers are second in the nation in forced turnovers and first in offensive rebounds.

The Mountaineers are led by junior forward Devin Williams. He averages of 14.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.

Jaysean Paige (5) (Photo Credit: Shanna Rose, BGS)

Jaysean Paige (5)
(Photo Credit: Shanna Rose, BGS)

Paige is second on the team in scoring, averaging 13.4 points per game, including 20 points per game in Big 12 action.

Jevon Carter averages 13.4 points and a team-best 3.1 assists a game. Daxter Miles Jr. averages 11.5 points.

Paige and junior guard Tarik Phillip are WVU’s dynamic threat off the bench.

WVU is off to its best start since the 1981-82 team started 24-1.

The Sooners lead the all-time series against the Mountaineers 6-3. The first meeting between the two teams took place on Dec. 22,2005, and WVU defeated No.7 Oklahoma.

The Mountaineers split the season series with the Sooners last season. WVU topped Oklahoma 86-65 in Morgantown, but lost 71-52 in Norman.

The Mountaineers are 0-3 against the Sooners in Norman.

Tipoff is at 4 p.m. (ET) and televised on ESPN2.



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