Wednesday night's contest started about as poorly as West Virginia (19-5, 7-4 Big 12) could have imagined. Oklahoma (8-15, 2-9 Big 12), who hasn't won a contest since it beat the Mountaineers in Morgantown on Jan 8, opened the game on an 11-2 run and it looked as if the Sooners had a season sweep on their mind. James Bolden had other plans though; after WVU started 1-of-8 from the field the freshman point guard came in and scored seven quick points to cut the OU lead to 11-10.
However Bolden picked up two quick fouls which enabled the Sooners to go on an 8-0 run and push the lead back out to nine. West Virginia didn't score a field goal for the next five minutes of play until Bolden reentered the contest and hit two quick threes. Senior power forward Nathan Adrian immediately hit a free throw afterwards that capped off a 7-0 Mountaineer run and gave West Virginia its first lead of the game at 20-19 with five minutes remaining in the first half. Bolden scored 15 of West Virginia's 27 points in the first half and the Mountaineers took a 27-25 win into the lockerroom after both teams shot a combined 18-56 from the field in the first half.
The second half started out just as ugly as the first, as neither team scored until Tarik Phillip drove to the bucket and hit a lay-up at the 16:20 mark. After that shot, the Mountaineers started to play much better basketball. While Beetle Bolden dominated the first half, Nathan Adrian made a number of big shots in the second. Adrian hit a three-pointer with 9:00 remaining that capped off a 9-2 run and gave West Virginia a 45-36 lead, its largest of the game. Just moments later Jevon Carter hit a big three-pointer from the corner and extended the Mountaineers lead to 51-38.
Oklahoma wasn't going to lie down though, and after the Sooners hit a three-pointer, official Tim Higgins asserted himself into the action and made a questionable call on Sagaba Konate underneath the basket that gave OU two free throws and five points in one possession. Shortly after the five point possession the Sooners scored another field goal and went on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 51-45.
That was as close as Oklahoma would come though, and the Mountaineers outplayed the Sooners down the stretch - something they did not do in Morgantown in the first meeting of the season. West Virginia pushed its lead back up to double-digits and ended up with a 61-50 win.
The play of Beetle Bolden will stick out to many, as the freshman registered a career-high 17 points in the win but Nate Adrian was just as instrumental as the gritty senior made a number of big plays down the stretch and added 13 points and seven boards. Sagaba Konate was a force on the defensive end and recorded five blocks, prompting Bob Huggins to say the freshman is the best rim protector he has had since taking over at West Virginia. Huggins wasn't just pleased with Konate's performance, however, and was complimentary of the Mountaineers' defensive play.
"I thought that's the best we have guarded," Huggins said to IMG's Tony Caridi. "I thought we did a better job of guarding the ball in pressure. We just did a much better job at the defensive end and I thought Sags was really good guarding the basket. We struggled on offense but its hard when there is so much contact to run clean offense. We didn't do a really good job of finding open guys."
West Virginia held the Sooners to 33 percent on 16-48 shooting from the field. The Mountaineers will look to continue their revenge tour when they take on Kansas State at noon on Saturday.