Oklahoma shook off the rust of a week long layoff to match #14 West Virginia blow-for-blow in Morgantown on Saturday. The Sooners emerged winners in a double-overtime thriller by hitting a game-winning shot and then defending the basket for an intense final four seconds.
After a back-and-forth affair through two halves and two overtimes, senior guard Austin Reaves hit a go ahead basket with 27 seconds remaining. Kur Kuath produced a huge block on West Virginia’s next possession and, after a jump ball, the Sooners were left to defend the basket one last time for the final four seconds of the game.
Game Defining Moment
The Sooners could have put this game away in the final five minutes but instead West Virginia closed out regulation on a 13-4 run. Austin Reaves hit a jumper at the 5:40 mark to give OU a 68-59 lead but the Sooners wouldn’t score again until Reaves nailed another jumper at the 3:08 mark to break a 68-68 tie. After the Mountaineers moved ahead 72-70 Oklahoma could have easily completed the collapse but Mo Gibson brought them back to life with an acrobatic layup, with 25 seconds left, to tie the game and push it to overtime.
Speaking of Gibson’s layup to send the game to overtime, how in the world did he do that?
Back But Limited
Alondes Williams was back with the Sooners, from Covid protocols, but played in a very limited capacity. The senior guard made his only shot from the floor and connected on two free throws to finish the game with four points.
Haunted By Fouls
Oklahoma overcame a lot to get Saturday’s win, including foul trouble. The Sooners usually make a living from the charity stripe themselves but this time around it was the Mountaineers feasting on Oklahoma fouls. West Virginia went to the free throw line 21 times compared to OU’s 10 trips. The Sooners were rung up for 19 personal fouls, including five on Elijah Harkless who was disqualified in the second overtime.
Fortunately for Oklahoma the Mountaineers left ten points at the charity stripe after missing 10 of their 21 attempts. Meanwhile the Sooners were a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line which is exactly the percentage you want to see on the road, regardless the number of attempts.
The Problem Child
We have to give West Virginia forward Derek Culver his due for Saturday’s game performance. The Mountaineers had three players score in double figures but Culver produced a double-double with a game high 29 points and 14 rebounds. He also dished out an assist and blocked a shot.
Oklahoma needed every bit of what Austin Reaves gave them on Saturday. Not only did the senior guard provide the dagger that would end up being the game winning shot, he also flirted with a triple-double while leading the Sooners in scoring. Reaves’ final stat line read 28 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists.
Things won’t get any easier for Oklahoma as they return to Norman to host #13 Texas on Tuesday evening.
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