Staten Not Enough To Beat Sooners

Despite Juwan Staten's best efforts, West Virginia couldn't pull the upset of No. 23 Oklahoma on Wednesday night.

Staten scored a game-high 24 points, but the Mountaineers fell 72-62, as Staten's teammates just couldn't give him the help he needed against a high-powered Sooners offense.

Oklahoma hit 11 of its 30 3-point attempts and took complete advantage of a weak defensive performance for the Mountaineers. WVU was just 4-of-13 from beyond the arc.

WVU didn't make a free throw until the four-minute mark of the second half. Oklahoma had 20 more free-throw attempts and 11 more makes than the Mountaineers in the game.

The Mountaineers also struggled with turnovers in the game. They had 12.

West Virginia was without sophomore guard Terry Henderson again. He did warm up with the team but didn't play.

Fellow sophomore guard Eron Harris had one of his poorest performances of the season. He scored 28 points a month ago against OU but could only muster up five points on Wednesday after dealing with foul trouble and turnovers. He eventually fouled out with two minutes to play. Hi disappointing performance ended a 12-game double-digit scoring stretch for Harris.

WVU freshman forward Devin Williams finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds – his seventh double-double of the season.

Junior guard Gary Browne finished with 12 points.

Oklahoma was led by senior forwad Cameron Clark, who had 19 points and 10 rebounds in his final home game. Guard Buddy Hield finished with 13 points – all coming in the second half.

The Sooners (22-8, 11-6) revenged an overtime loss to WVU (16-14, 8-9) in Morgantown exactly a month ago. With a win in its season finale vs. TCU, Oklahoma wraps up second place in the Big 12 tournament next week. WVU is now tied for sixth in the conference with Baylor and Oklahoma State heading into a showdown in Morgantown against Big 12 champion Kansas.

West Virginia would trail early, as a zone defense couldn't stop Oklahoma's strong outside shooters. The Sooners would go up 8-4 before an 8-2 WVU run gave the Mountaineers their first lead of the game at 12-10. All eight of those points were scored by Staten.

West Virginia was dealt a challenging blow early on, as starters Nathan Adrian and Harris went out of the game early after picking up two fouls each. Without those two, walk-on Chase Connor had to come on for WVU, and he was able to hit a three to give the Mountaineers a 17-14 lead with under 10 minutes to play in the first half.

Oklahoma was able to jump out to a six-point lead nearing the end of the first half, and WVU head coach Bob Huggins was forced to put Harris back in with those two fouls. It wouldn't help, as the Sooners extended their lead to 11 points before Staten hit a runner to end a nearly seven-minute scoring drought.

Staten would lead WVU on a 6-0 run to end the half and keep the game within reach at 33-28. Staten had 16 of those 28 points.

West Virginia had a slew of chances early on in the second half to take the lead against Oklahoma, but the shots just weren't falling for the Mountaineers. Eventually, though, they would break through.

Harris scored his first points of the game on a transition three with under 13 minutes to play to give West Virginia its first lead of the second half at 41-40. That was part of an 9-0 run for the Mountaineers that would eventually give them a 43-40 advantage.

Oklahoma would quickly regain the lead behind two threes from Hield to take a 50-45 lead with nine minutes left forcing a West Virginia timeout.

After Browne knocked in a three to cut the OU lead to three, junior forward Kevin Noreen fouled out on the next possession with 6:42 to play as Clark buried a jumper and a free throw to put the Sooners back up by six at 56-50.

Soon after, Oklahoma would take a double-digit lead. WVU didn't have the firepower to come back.

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