Joe Alexander carried West Virginia in the first half on his way to player of the game honors against Oklahoma
Alexander scored nine of West Virginia's first ten points to help keep a tentative and cold shooting Mountaineer squad in the contest in the early going. Alexander finished with 21 points and seven rebounds as he went toe to toe with Oklahoma standout Blake Griffin. Although Alexander was just 9-24 from the field, it was his aggressive drives to the basket and willingness to take the ball up against the Oklahoma defense that figured heavily in WVU's play.
The junior also had three assists, one block and one steal in 47 minutes of action.
West Virginia took 75 shots in the double overtime game, as opposed to Oklahoma's 54, but was unable to convert on many easy chances.
"[Oklahoma] was making three-pointers over screens, and we were missing four-footers," head coach Bob Huggins said afterward. The WVU coach's frustration was apparent, and rightfully so. The Mountaineers shot just 41.3% from the field and 20.8% from three point range.
Da'Sean Butler had a nice spurt at the start of the second half, but was again saddled with foul trouble, which kept him on the bench for long stretches. He manged just 31 minutes of playing time in the 50 minute contest, and his absence certainly hurt a West Virginia team that struggled to score. Butler had 15 point and five rebounds in his time on the floor -- and given ten more minutes, might have made the difference in the game.
West Virginia was also unable to defend the cross screen and the high pick and roll, which was pretty much all of Oklahoma's offense. The Mountaineers allowed the Sooners too many open threes off screens, and OU responded with a 50% shooting night (8-16) from long range. WVU also was caught out of position numerous times as it tried to defend the high pick, which allowed OU's post players easy shots at the basket. OU's starting froncourt duo of Blake Griffin and Longar Longar was a combined 15-26 from the field.