Another game, another heartbreaking loss for West Virginia.
The Oklahoma Sooners pulled off a near wire-to-wire victory over WVU in Norman, Oklahoma on Saturday. But, as the 77-76 scoreline might indicate, the contest was a struggle to the bitter end as the Mountaineers squandered multiple opportunities to overtake the Sooners for their first conference win.
None of those opportunities was as poignant as WVU’s last possession with a one-basket deficit. Down two points, WVU had 25 seconds to work a play to the basket and either tie or go ahead in the game. Guard Joe Toussaint received the inbound and passed to Erik Stevenson on the wing.
Seven seconds into the possession, though, Stevenson hauled up a contested fadeaway three-pointer that bounced off the backboard. OU’s Jalen Hill recovered the rebound and drew the foul, effectively putting the game out of reach for the Mountaineers.
WVU put on one of its best offensive performances so far this season, shooting 56.4 percent from the field and giving up just five turnovers. Bob Huggins was rewarded when he went to the well of Tre Mitchell, as the forward led the squad with 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting.
Some of WVU’s familiar issues came back to haunt the Mountaineers, however. WVU struggled to guard the Sooners, as they also shot over 55 percent from the field while knocking down 9 of their 20 three-pointers. The Mountaineers were also comfortably beaten in the rebounding battle, posting a minus-10 margin on the glass.
Grant Sherfield, one of the Big 12’s top scorers, led the game with 22 points but struggled from the field. Instead, he added nine of those points from the free throw line as he was fouled six times.
WVU’s woes from the charity stripe also reemerged as the Mountaineers made just half of their 16 free throws. In the first half, West Virginia missed all four of its attempts.
Toussaint reprised his role as a clutch scorer for WVU, adding 10 crucial points for the Mountaineers in the first half. He attempted just three field goals in the second and made two, but missed both of his free throws in the game. Kedrian Johnson added 13 points for the Mountaineers, mostly through his ability to penetrate with a dribble drive, while Emmitt Matthews Jr. chipped in 11 points.
Hill added 14 points for the Sooners with a perfect shooting performance from both the field and the line, adding six rebounds to OU’s total of 29 boards. Milos Uzan led the game with nine boards and scored 11 points.
At the final buzzer, Oklahoma held the lead for over 34 minutes of game time. WVU never led the Sooners outright at any point in the contest.
West Virginia starts the Big 12 slate with five straight losses for just the second time since joining the conference in 2012. The last time the Mountaineers had this rough of a start was in the 2018-19 campaign when WVU finished last in the league with four Big 12 wins.
Oklahoma earns its second Big 12 win of the season and extends its win streak over West Virginia to seven straight.
The Mountaineers return to the hardwood on Wednesday when they host No. 17 TCU at the WVU Coliseum. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. ET on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.