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January 5, 2013

WVU drops Big 12 opener 67-57 to Oklahoma

In the second of at least three meetings between the two teams and the Big 12 Conference opener for both schools, West Virginia (7-6, 0-1) found a result all too familiar as the Mountaineers fell to Oklahoma (10-3, 1-0) 67 to 57 inside the Coliseum Saturday.

The Mountaineers led by double digits in the early stages of the second half, but fell into one of the now customary offensive lulls and the Sooners took advantage beating West Virginia for the second time this season. It was the third time this season that West Virginia blew a double digit second half lead.

West Virginia was led in scoring by true freshman Terry Henderson with 21 points, while Jabarie Hinds scored 11 and Juwan Staten added 10. Romero Osby led the Sooners with 21 points and Steven Pledger added 12 points.

In the first half the Mountaineers cashed in on the long ball, using nine three-pointers; including five from true freshman Terry Henderson to take a 35-29 lead into the break. In total, West Virginia only made 11 field goals and Henderson led the Mountaineers in scoring with 18-points at the break.

West Virginia opened the game with a three-pointer from junior Aaric Murray when the Sooners refused to close out on the big man around a minute into the game. But Oklahoma battled back with eight straight points with Steven Pledger hitting for four of those and Amath M'Baye picking up right where he left off against the Mountaineers in their first meeting hitting a baseline jumper.

After an Eron Harris free throw, Murray hit another three from the right corner to put the score at 8-7 in favor of the Sooners until a three pointer from Romero Osby put Oklahoma back out in front by four.

Staten then scored his first points of the night to bring the lead within two, and a long rebound by Gary Browne off his own miss got the ball to Murray who drew a foul and got to the line to tie the game up at 11-all with 13:50 left in the half.

Three straight Sooners baskets had them back out front early after the Mountaineers had failed to connect on several baskets from in close and struggled from the outside as well missing several opportunities to take the lead back.

And finally Staten ended the drought by getting into the lane and kicking the ball to a wide open Terry Henderson who proceeded to knock down a three in what would become a familiar instance in the half to cut the Oklahoma lead to 17-14. After a breakaway dunk by Oklahoma, Henderson quickly cashed in again behind the arc and the Mountaineers trailed by a basket with eight minutes left in the half.

The three-pointer barrage would continue from West Virginia after another Sooners basket, but this time it was Hinds getting into the act to whittle the lead down to 21-20, but a long jumper by M'Baye increased the lead back out to three.

The Mountaineers retook the lead on the hot shooting of Henderson who after making a free throw put in his third three of the half to place the score at 24-23. However, it would be short lived as Oklahoma would reel off four-straight including a step-back three pointer from Je'lon Hornbeak to give the Sooners a 27-24 advantage with under five minutes left in the first half.

It was Henderson's half however, as the true freshman would then hit his fourth and fifth three pointers in the half on consecutive possessions to give him 16 points and a three point lead for West Virginia at 30-27 with 3:12 left on the clock.

The other true freshman Harris would then hit yet another three-pointer to give West Virginia its biggest lead of the half at six points and after the Sooners would respond with a runner, Henderson would score on a reverse layup to put the cushion at six heading into the locker room.

The Sooners opened the second half getting to the basket and drawing a foul where Osby connected on both of his attempts from the line and Hinds was able to return the favor on the other end by hitting a runner in the lane through contact and then adding a free throw to push the lead to seven.

And the hot shooting of Henderson didn't cool off during the break as the true freshman would hit his sixth three of the game for the first double-digit lead of the game at 41-31, and Staten would add to that on a transition layup.

The Sooners would cut the lead to 43-38 on some turnovers by West Virginia, many of them unforced, as the Mountaineers went through a stretch that forced Huggins to use a timeout at the 14:42 mark. The Mountaineers finally ended the lull on a put back by Deniz Kilicli and the senior center hustled on the other end to draw a foul on the rebound.

But Oklahoma wouldn't go away as two straight baskets by the Sooners whittled the once double digit lead down to a single possession at 45-42 with 12:07 left in the game.

And after a Kilicli free throw and a pair of baskets by the Sooners the game was tied at 46-all, before Staten ended the drought from the field and gave the Mountaineers the lead back. But it was short lived as the Sooners were fouled on a dunk the next trip down the floor and connected on the free throw to put Oklahoma in front for the first time in the second half.

Staten once again used the dribble drive to get to the basket and connect on a layup, and after a miss on the other end Hinds was able to run out and get to the stripe where he hit a pair to give WVU a 52-49 lead with just over eight minutes remaining in the game.

After trading empty possessions, M'Baye got a basket on a put back and then Hinds and Pledger exchanged three pointers to keep the West Virginia lead at one point. And the Sooners would capture a 56-55 lead after a layup and extend that to three after a pair of free throws.

The Sooners would stretch that to five points with less than three minutes remaining on a layup, but a pair of Staten foul shots brought the game within a single possession.

But Pledger would hit a three-pointer as the Sooners navigated the Mountaineers zone defense to give them a 63-57 lead with only 1:53 left in the game and from there Oklahoma would cap off the win to the final tune of 67-57.


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