Mountaineers Win Third Straight

  • By John Antonik
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  • February 05, 2014 10:11 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Eron Harris scored 28 points to lead West Virginia to a 91-86 overtime victory over 21st-ranked Oklahoma Wednesday night at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown.
Tonight’s victory snaps West Virginia’s 16-game losing streak against ranked teams dating back to a Jan. 7, 2012 victory over Georgetown in Morgantown.
"This is probably the first big win of my life," said Harris. "We were in some of these games last year but we never got the big win."
The win was also the third straight for the Mountaineers, now tied with the Sooners for third place in the Big 12 standings with a 6-4 record.
“What I think was big for us is that we only had 10 turnovers and their big deal is forcing turnovers,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “They are leading the league in forced turnovers.”
Oklahoma, now 17-6 overall, experienced travel difficulties getting to Morgantown and didn’t arrive in town until a just few hours before tipoff. The Sooners trailed by as many as 14 early in the second half before rallying.
Oklahoma got its deficit down to single digits on a Buddy Hield 3, and eventually got it to three with 10:37 remaining on a Tyler Neal 3.
Another 3 from Neal with 3:47 left made it a four-point game, 77-73, and then a traditional three-point play from Ryan Spangler with 1:38 left gave the Sooners their first lead of the second half at 79-78.
Two more Neal free throws made it a three-point game with 1:18 to go and the Sooners had a chance to go up five, but Jordan Woodard missed a close one that led to Harris’ game-tying 3 with 24 seconds to go.
Oklahoma had a chance to win the game in regulation but Isaiah Cousins’ couldn’t knock down a 3 with two seconds remaining.
In overtime, Harris banged in a 3 after a 2-point jumper from Woodard, and a second 3 from Harris kept the lead at three.
“Eron just made huge shots for us and he got nothing easy,” said Huggins.
Woodard and Juwan Staten traded baskets before Staten made it a two-possession game with 29 seconds left. A Woodard turnover led to another WVU free throw, this one from Adrian, with 14 seconds left.
West Virginia led by 11 at halftime, 43-32.
Harris was 10 of 18 from the floor, including 6 of 13 from 3, and West Virginia needed all of them because the rest of the team had a rough night shooting the basketball, including Staten, coming off a career high 35-point performance against Kansas State last Saturday.
Staten was 6 of 18 from the floor and failed to make a field goal in the second half before scoring three points in overtime. He finished the game with 20 points and a team-best 10 rebounds.
Terry Henderson was the only other West Virginia player to reach double figures with 17, although he was only 5 of 12 shooting.
The three players West Virginia used in the center position – Kevin Noreen, Brandon Watkins and Devin Williams – committed a combined 13 fouls and forward Remi Dibo also fouled out midway through the second half.
“We’ve got to stop fouling so much and I don’t know how we’re going to do that,” said Huggins.
Overall, the Mountaineers were 28 of 71 for 39.4 percent, but they did manage to produce a 46-44 edge on the glass.
Oklahoma got 23 points from Woodard and 16 from Neal.
“We didn’t guard very well in the second half and we didn’t make a whole lot of shots in the second half but we hung on,” said Huggins.
Wednesday’s win was the third in a row for West Virginia, now 14-9 overall, heading into Saturday’s game against eighth-ranked Kansas in Lawrence.
That game will tip off at 4 p.m. and will be televised nationally on ESPN.