Live on press row just in time for the tip of tonight’s game here at the Coliseum. And I wasn’t the only one who was late to the party. My fingers were tied hammering away at signing day stories, but check out what the Sooners were made to go through to get here.
Oklahoma arrived at 5:40 p.m. Sheesh.
As I hurry to the finish here and the start out there, I offer you the story line: WVU’s bad/improving defense against Oklahoma’s prolific, precise and balanced offense.
Let’s hit it….
Now we’re done. Final: 91-86. Good game and, honestly, a gritty effort by the Sooners.
Sooners turnover, Adrian steal, one free throw and the 16 game losing streak to ranked teams is over in 14 seconds.
There’s one old guy who is the de facto chauffeur for another old guy in the media. They both have press passes on press row. The chauffeur is yelling at people to have them sit down.
…and makes the second. It’s 90-86 with 28.6 seconds to go.
Oh, man, OU nearly stole the ball right under the basket when Browne was trapped. It squirts out to Harris, who finds State, who is fouled. And the closer misses the first…
Kruger checks in Spangler, which is tricky. WVU doesn’t know he’s in before it takes the floor.
Adrian will throw it in, which is good, and Staten, Harris, Henderson and Browne will vie for the ball and the free throws. I believe that’s Mr. Staten’s coat.
Now WVU digs deep to gut out a three-shot possession when Neal dribbles it off his foot and Williams covers up and gets a timeout. Mountaineers lead 89-86 with 36.4 to go.
And a free-throw line extended jumper because OU went under a screen. He’s great.
I really can’t say enough about Staten. He hasn’t sat yet and he and Woodard have gone back and forth at one another all game and he STILL doesn’t have a foul.
And Staten just will not foul. Woodard goes at him and Staten makes it as hard as possible without fouling. Shot goes in.
Harris follows three straight swishes with an air ball. I’m sure he wasn’t fouled. Suuuuure.
Harris is seeing a really big rim right now. Another 3, this time falling, and OU misses on the other end.
Woodard goes 1-for-2 at the line and we’re tied again 84-84.
Bad Terry: Throws away a sure layup after a nice steal. Staten had the simplest two of the night.
Harris. Checking his temperature. Step in 25 footer off a long rebound. Sure.
Hey, credit the crowd here. It’s not crowded, but it’s loud and the folks closes to the court (who didn’t leave with four minutes to go) are making their presences felt.
WVU might put on a run here. OU just can’t have much left.
Bad news, I guess, for WVU is OU has four timeouts for OT.
Possible Kruger is anticipating another 20 hour trip and wanted to use the timeouts as nourishment.
And Lon Kruger leaves three timeouts on the scoreboard. Shocking.
WVU escaped total confusion and Harris bangs a 3. We’re tied with 21 seconds to go.
WVU led this one from 10:27 in the first half until Spangler’s three-point play. Lead was as large as 14 with 18:37 remaining.
Two Sooners are at the rim to greet Staten and Neal, who’s had a very nice game, swats it out of bounds. WVU, on the verge of a clinical collapse, has the ball down 81-78 with 32.8 seconds to do.
Woodard gets the look, but misses.
Woodard and the foul line are the enemies here.
Bad Terry: Right there. Air balls a 3 with 29 seconds left on the shot clock.
WVU calls a timeout, draws up a quick hitter for Harris that OU closes off and Staten misses short on a forced runner. Neal gets the rebound and it touched by Williams, but falls and gets the call and two free throws.he makes both and it’s now a three-point lead.
Also, Michael Stephens so enjoyed the and-one call.
Yo, that looked good, but Harris slid in after Spangler jumped and he was in the circle. Spangler’s three-point play gives the Sooners a 79-78 lead with 98 seconds remaining.
The Matadors, er, Mountaineers give up the paint and an easy layup. It’s 78-76 and one team is working really hard for its points and the other is Oklahoma.
That was a two-man game with Harris and Watkins and no Staten. Hield fouls Watkins and Watkins goes 1-for-2.
Now WVU calls a timeout, likely to solve the mystery of the disappearing point guard. But WVU has been troubled out of timeouts at times this season.
And Watkins, of course, leaves his feet and Neal gets by for a foul and two free throws. He goes 1-for-2 and it’s 77-74 with 2:53 remaining. OU had been 20-for-23.
Staten isn’t touching the ball for some reason.
WVU is 13-for-14 from 3-point range this half and — sheesh, right side 3 for Neal. Timeout Sooners with 3:45 go. OU has two timeouts left. Kruger is a wizard in timeouts. Sooners will be prepared here.
Staten is the decoy planted on the right side as Harris weaves and passes to Watkins for an easy two. For good measure, Staten rebounds the miss.
Add two free throws to the Spangler tally and it’s 73-70. WVU is actually the one hanging on here.
Spangler rebounding fouls out Dibo and Spangler (six and seven) might trip and fall into a double-double yet.
And two Woodard free throws — that’s his game — make it 73-68 with five minutes to go.
And the officiating is some sort of bad, but the worst part is that it’s just terribly inconsistent. And there have been 19 players in this game and 40 fouls. Three players have none: Staten and two zero-plus guys for OU.
Dibo is a variable tonight. He has eight rebounds. They might all be loose ball rebounds.
God, WVU gives up the paint with the greatest of ease. It just looks like teams are going into a game intent on getting like 36 points in the paint. OU is making is look very easy and, to be honest, has no other offense. It’s a layup or a kickout.
Spangler has made some silly decisions today — at least two needless fouls — and sits with four fouls with 9:08 to go. WVU leads 64-60 and Spangler, averaging a double-double, has six and six.
OU had WVU scouted out of the timeout and covered Henderson on a cut and then stepped out on Harris, but Harris drained a 3. Sometimes good beats good.
Cousins gets inside, Hornbeak draws and makes an extra pass and Neal hits a 3 to make it 61-58. The Sooners are getting stuff form a lot of players. Apart from this little flourish by Browne, which just has to continue in some form, WVU is getting stuff from three players.
Hield is a really good player. Scored on a putback there and he has 15 and 6 to make it 59-53. I didn’t know he was this good.
Student section is on top of Michael Stephens AND giving him the left-right-left-right treatment normally reserved for an opponent who fouls out of the game.
And not-so-quietly, WVU’s lead is 57-49 with 12:$3 to go. WVU’s offense is comprised almost entirely of it’s three scorers. OU is getting action from Cousins and Clark now.
We’re due for an illegal screen against WVU soon.
And that’s among the worst calls of the season there. No way that’s not a charge. Unbelievable call against Noreen.
Can’t say this enough, but WVU has closed out so much better after starting so poorly.
And he’s fine. Scores on the other end. But now a Noreen pick at the 3-point line stands up Isaiah Cousins.
Oof. And Staten runs little Woodard blindly and at velocity into a Noreen screen. Woodard is still holding his neck.
At least Staten is shooting when OU goes under screens. He’ll make one soon.
The Sooners get in trouble when they rush out of sets and into one-on-one pick-and-roll stuff. That’s what WVU wants and WVU jumps at the passes off the pick. If you get the ball far on one side of the floor, the Mountaineers have you where they want you.
Watkins has been pretty lazy here and Harris is letting him know right under the basket after Watkins commits a foul trying to rebound with Spangler.
WVU isn’t taking the cheese on ball fakes. And OU isn’t scoring. These are tied together, I promise.
The only way I see WVU losing this is if it turns the ball over like 12 times this half.
Can OU play as badly in the second half? Can WVU avoid critical foul trouble? We’ll find out … but right now, the 16-game losing streak to ranked teams is in peril!
OU had to try really hard to get Neal isolated against Staten on that play. And the Sooners did it. Staten scored and OU misses a few bunnies to end the half down 43-32.
When OU does right on offense, which hasn’t happened with great frequency (and I say that as the Sooners get away with a 2-on-1 carry and then kick it out of bounds) they’ve found it on the right side.
Oh, hey, stop me if you’ve heard this, but WVU has used nine players. Eight have a foul. One does not. Guess who?!?!
WVU is 5-for-14 from 3-point range. OU is 0-for-2. The Mountaineers have 14 baskets, the Sooners have seven. That’ll get you up and down a dozen.
OU has resorted to a lot of one-on-one stuff, which is in WVU’s wheel house. A rushed shot lets WVU rebound without much trouble. Staten gets the ball and runs and gets in the paint and flips back to Henderson for a 3. It’s 37-25 and the Sooners look a little spent.
Good Terry: Cross-fade 3-pointer to go up 29-21, largest lead of the game. Burt neither team can guard or rebound here. It’s going to be prone to a lot of runs.
Bad Terry: 5-on-3 and he gets a layup blocked when he could had wisely passed. Staten cleans up the rebound and has eight points and five rebounds as WVU goes up 24-17. Danger zone here for the Sooners.
If WVU wants to do it, it can slow this down a tad and get Williams a lot of touched. OU is small and can’t guard him, especially if Spanger is out.
Neither team is stopping the ball. This could be fun. It’s only 20-17 with 8:53 left in the half, but OU figures to get gassed and WVU doesn’t much guard when fueled.
The missed free throw got Harris a foul, though, and he gets his second on the ensuing defensive position. He’ll sit with 12:29 to go. That was smart by OU. Harris can find foul trouble and the Sooners isolated Tyler Neal in the post against Harris.
Such a smart play by Harris, and what makes this new offense so effective. The screen was there for Staten and he drove. The defense collapsed and Staten found Harris. The crowd gasped as he caught the ball and dribbled right around the 3-point line. The defense converged ad Harris slipped a bounce pass inside to Williams for a layup. He scored and was fouled, but missed the free throw.
Williams is now the screener and he’s making OU players keep their eyes open. Tracking Staten and the screen can be hard and the Sooners are not a great defensive team.
There aren’t a lot of people here, but the crowd is lively and on top of every play so far. An offensive rebound and basket by Henderson (!) puts WVU ahead 14-10, but Spangler is, predictably, giving WVU problems.
And just like that, Noreen has two fouls while rebounding.
…and a transition layup.
Similar stuff for WVU on offense here. The screens aren’t set quite as high, because OU won’t engage, but Noreen is setting them and OU is staying under. Staten obliges with a jumper.
Hey! Adrian doesn’t go for the ball fake and lark is called for a travel.
And Dibo, who hasn’t had a hand up yet on defense and paid for it on a Clark jumper, takes a seat with 16:57 to go.
WVU running and jumping at a lot of OU players so far. That’s usually a no-no.
The Sooners scored on their first two possessions before Terry Henderson hit a 3. So, so, so many people were ready to file stories with “Oklahoma showed up late. WVU didn’t show up at all!”