The Oklahoma Sooners are undefeated in conference play. For the time being. Romero Osby nearly had a double-double, with a 21 point, nine rebound performance as the Sooners rallied from down 12 to come up with a 67-57 win in Morgantown against West Virginia. The win pushes them to 10-3 (1-0) on the season.
The Mountaineers came out firing on all cylinders, particularly from three point land. They were 47% from three in the first half and 27 of their 35 points came from long range. The Sooners simply didn’t have an answer for their strange surge from downtown, but could only hope that they would return to reality in the second.
Luckily, they did. West Virginia shot only 18% from three in the second, cooling considerably from the first half tear. Still, they were able to extend their lead early, thanks to an 8-2 sparked by Jabarie Hinds to start the half.
However, eventually, enough was enough. The Sooners turned up the defensive intensity a couple notches, putting together an 8-0 run of their own, and began to crawl back into the game.
With 9:14 left to play in the second, Cameron Clark converted a three point play to give the Sooners their first lead since the 4:56 mark in the first.
Then began the back and forth battle. Both teams would answer buckets with buckets, and defense became almost non-existent. The lead changed hands a couple more times, until finally, Oklahoma decided to take control.
During the final 5:44 the Sooners’ stingy defense did not allow a single West Virgina field goal and completely scoreless over the last 2:31. The Sooners scored 12 points of their own during this stretch, including the dagger by Steven Pledger, who scored eight of his 12 points in the second half, with 2:07 remaining that put the Sooners up by six, and sealed the fate of this game. Ultimately, the Sooners ended the game on a 16-2 run.
Once again the Sooners’ depth was on display, as their bench outscored West Virginia’s 15-4. Cameron Clark and Isaiah Cousins were especially key in reserve roles for Oklahoma, combining to score 13 points. Clark also had six rebounds.
The real story, however is the Sooner dominance in the paint. Oklahoma outscored the Mountaineers 30-10 in the post and also won the battle of the boards 40-39.
Freshman Buddy Hield may not have done anything that really pops out on a stat sheet, but he had a solid all-around game. Hield scored eight points, grabbed seven rebounds, dished five assists and swiped two steals in his first career Big 12 game.
The Sooners will have a week off before returning home to Norman for a bedlam matchup in their conference home-opener against currently 22nd ranked Oklahoma State. The Cowboys will likely slip a little in the next rankings, after a loss to Kansas State this afternoon, but will still make a tough matchup for the Sooners with super frosh Marcus Smart, and will likely be hungry for a win after dropping two straight. Tip-off is set for 2 PM CST.
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