When Buddy Hield entered the game tonight, he was showered with cheers of adulation from a home crowd. Fans chanted “Bud-eee! Bud-eee! Bud-eee!” as one of their freshmen favorites strolled onto the court versus West Virginia. The young guard couldn’t help but smile, happy to be back after missing nearly a month due to a fracture in his fifth metatarsal. Hield played just four minutes and was scoreless, but it didn’t matter. He played and the Sooners won by a score of 83-70, good for their 20th win of the season.
As has become a recurring theme this season, Romero Osby carried the load for the Sooners, with a game-high of 26 points to go along with six rebounds. He scored in a variety of ways, muscling his way inside against the bigger Mountaineer post players, or using his range to his advantage, sinking jumpers.
Not far behind Osby was Steven Pledger. The sharpshooter finished with 23 points on his own, on 5-10 shooting from the floor. He also led the team in rebounding, grabbing eight boards. With his five treys, Pledger is inching closer and closer to breaking the school record for career three pointers, needing only 12 more to surpass Terry Evans.
No other Sooner logged double digits in scoring, but quite a few more came close. Je’lon Hornbeak, Sam Grooms and Amath M’Baye all had nine, eight and seven points respectively. Grooms also did a spectacular job orchestrating the Sooners offense, dishing a season-high 10 assists.
Despite the size difference, Oklahoma was able to outrebound the Mountaineers 33-25.
Defensively, the Sooners held West Virginia to 39.3% shooting in the first half, leading by as many as 17 at one point. However, a late surge by the Mountaineers trimmed the margin to just 11, and the Sooners went into the break leading 39-28.
Much like in the second meeting between the two, the Sooners had to survive an array of threes.
In the second, the Mountaineers came storming back with a barrage of 3-pointers, nailing their first three treys to come as close as three. M’Baye would answer with a three of his own, that would spark a 15-5 Sooner run that would push their lead back to double digits, but the Mountaineers simply wouldn’t go away. They came charging back with a second onslaught of long range bombs, getting the Sooner lead back down to four with just five minutes to play.
Oklahoma would never relinquish that lead however, and a couple of clutch buckets from Pledger would seal the deal.
Next up the Sooners will travel to Fort Worth for their final game of the regular season against TCU. This game holds some weight as far as Big 12 tournament seeding goes, as with the Oklahoma State loss tonight, the Sooners still have a shot at finishing as high as 3rd in the conference. Tip-off is set for 4 PM CST on Saturday.
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