MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – (February 13, 2021) — The highly anticipated top-15 matchup between No. 14 West Virginia and No. 12 Oklahoma lived up to the hype, needing double overtime. The Sooners snuck past WVU, 91-90.
“I think it’s a combination of not getting any sleep, which is hard to do when you’re flying taking you three-and-a-half hours to fly back and playing a 9 p.m. game,” WVU coach Bob Huggins said. “I think they (WVU) were full of themselves after beating a couple of ranked teams.”
“I know they were tired, we had a terrible practice (yesterday),” Huggins added.
The first half was full of back-and-forth play from West Virginia (14-6, 7-4 Big 12) and Oklahoma (13-5, 8-4 Big 12). WVU would look to Derek Culver throughout the half to get a basket. Culver was fed the ball multiple times when being guarded by Oklahoma’s Brady Manek. The Sooners in the first half were balanced scoring-wise. Both teams shot poorly from three in the first half, as West Virginia shot 11% and the Sooners shot 25%. WVU’s only three-pointer was a half-court shot by Deuce McBride at the buzzer.
With six minutes left in the second half, the Sooners held a nine-point lead. This is where West Virginia somehow thrives best, enter Sean McNeil. McNeil went to score the next 13 WVU points, including 3-threes. The Kentucky native alone had a 13-4 run against the Sooners.
After a pair of free-throws by McBride, it was a defensive standoff for a minute or so until Oklahoma’s Umoja Gibson made a layup to tie the game up with 21 seconds that led to overtime.
In the first overtime period, OU got off to a quick lead, but back-to-back baskets by Emmitt Matthews gave WVU the lead back. A three-pointer by Oklahoma and a put-back layup by Jalen Bridges resulted in another overtime period.
This overtime period was a mirroring image of the first five minutes, as this time WVU took a quick lead. The deficit didn’t phase Oklahoma as they scored four unanswered points. McBride made a layup, but Oklahoma’s Austin Reaves scored a basket in the paint for the final basket of the game.
WVU had multiple chances to regain the lead after the Reaves’ basket, but couldn’t connect on anything. Even when the game looked to be over, Gabe Osabuohien gave the Mountaineers hope, creating a jump ball to get the ball back.
Two missed layups by Culver and Bridges in the final seconds stamped a “W” in the win column for the Sooners.
Culver finished with another double-double on Saturday, finishing with 29 points and 14 rebounds. The junior forward shot 13-of-23 against OU.
After scoring his career-high in points with 26 against Texas Tech earlier in the week, McNeil recorded 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field, making 5-threes. The six-foot-three guard scored all 21 of his points in the second half.
McBride scored 19 points of his own on just 6-of-19 shooting. On a positive note, the Cincinnati, OH, native dished out eight assists and pulled down seven rebounds.
“We really wanted that one with them (Oklahoma) being one of the Big 12 teams this crew hasn’t beaten yet. Just gave it away to them, credit to them they’re a great team,” McBride said.
“They kept battling as well but we had too many chances that we just didn’t take advantage of,” McBride added.
The West Virginia Mountaineers will enter next week almost blindly, as both games with No. 2 Baylor were postponed. Mountaineers might be able to fit in a make-up game with Oklahoma State or TCU but as of Feb. 13, WVU will travel to Austin, Texas, on Saturday, Feb. 20 to take on the Texas Longhorns. The game will be televised on ABC, starting at 3 p.m.