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Travel-Weary Sooners Fall To Mountaineers In Overtime

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MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -

It was a considerable struggle for No. 21 Oklahoma to even get to Morgantown, W.Va., for Wednesday night's game with the Mountaineers. Once the game started, it became even more of a struggle. Struggle turned into resiliency; resiliency turned to deflation and deflation ultimately turned into defeat.

Eron Harris tied the game at 81 with a 3-pointer with 20.2 seconds remaining in regulation, and then hit two more 3-pointers in overtime to lead West Virginia to a 91-86 upset victory over the Sooners.

Oklahoma had to deal with significant travel issues on Tuesday and Wednesday, as the winter weather blanketing most of the country did everything possible to keep the Sooners out of West Virginia.

The Sooners were delayed on their way out of OKC and were eventually forced to land in Newark, N.J. due to the weather in West Virginia. The Sooners didn't get to a hotel until after 3 a.m. EST. Wednesday, they once again attempted to head for Morgantown, but didn't leave Newark until after 4 p.m. EST. Oklahoma eventually made it to WVU Coliseum, less than 90 minutes before tip time.

Harris finished with a game-high 28 points, all but two of those coming in the second half and overtime. Harris was impressive from 3-point range, hitting 6-of-13 attempts from deep. Juwan Staten had 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Terry Henderson chipped in 17 points for West Virginia.

Jordan Woodard finished with 23 points and eight assists while Tyler Neal had a season-high 16 points for OU. Buddy Hield had 15 points, including 12 after halftime.

There's no doubt some of the problems Oklahoma had—especially in the first half—could be attributed to the 20-plus hour trip, but you probably won't hear the Sooners making any excuses. Either way, Oklahoma struggled out of the gate, shooting just 34.6 percent in the first half. The Sooners were also hampered by foul trouble, as five players picked up at least two fouls.

Fortunately for OU, West Virginia wasn't too great themselves. The Mountaineers managed to shoot just 41.7 percent, but hit five 3-pointers to take a 43-32 lead into the locker room. Staten was terrific in the first 20 minutes, scoring 13 points while grabbing six rebounds and dishing out four assists. Henderson also scored 13 points in the first half, hitting three 3-pointers.

Harris hit a 3-pointer right out of halftime to push the WVU lead to 14 points. From there, the Sooners slowly chipped away at the lead. A jumper from Isaiah Cousins cut the lead to 57-51 with 12:33 remaining. A 3-pointer from Neal a few minutes later cut it to 61-58.

The Mountaineers fought back, pushing the lead to seven points on three separate occasions over the next six minutes, the latest with 3:55 remaining, when Harris hit two free throws for a 77-70 lead.

Oklahoma responded with a 9-1 run, capped by a basket-and-one for Ryan Spangler to give OU a 79-78 lead with 1:38 remaining. OU pushed it to 81-78 with 1:18 remaining in regulation, but couldn't extend the lead with less than a minute remaining, setting the stage for Harris' heroics.

In overtime, Harris' two 3-pointers—both from well outside the arc—gave WVU an 87-84 lead. The Sooners cut it to a single point, but Staten buried a pull-up jumper with 59 seconds left and the Sooners couldn't draw any closer.

Oklahoma will be looking to snap their first losing streak of the season when they host Baylor Saturday at 6 p.m. in Norman. The Bears lost to Kansas at home on Tuesday night, but upset then-No. 8 Oklahoma State last Saturday. Every day is dangerous in the Big 12, but thankfully for the Sooners, they won't be coming off a 20-hour travel disaster on Saturday.

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