Tough In Transition: Sooners Outwork WVU To Pickup Much Needed Win

Saturday, February 20th 2016, 6:57 pm
By: Brett Coppenbarger

With OU desperately needing a win to right the ship on Saturday afternoon, the Sooners went into a hostel Morgantown environment and churned out a 76-62 win over the No. 10 Mountaineers to improve to 21-5 on the season and move up to second place in the Big 12 standings with a 9-5 conference record.

It was a back and forth contest throughout, but Oklahoma held a 52-43 lead with 9:23 left and looked to be pulling away after Jordan Woodard converted a fast break layup, but senior Ryan Spangler put a stop to the Oklahoma surge by picking up a questionable technical foul after looking back at the WVU player whose shot he just blocked.

The Mountaineers (20-7, 9-5) used the switch of momentum to their favor, and WVU reeled off a 9-to-0 run in a matter of no time to tie the game at 52-52.

With their backs against the wall and the rambunctious West Virginia Coliseum crowd seemingly sucking all the air out of the building, the No. 3 Sooners looked like they were staring their third straight loss right in the face. But suddenly the mood in the building shifted in the Sooners’ favor.

Spangler started the Oklahoma run by banking in a free-throw, and then after a WVU turnover, backup point guard Dinjiyl Walker drilled his only 3-pointer of the game to put OU up five points. Lattin added a free-throw on the next OU possession, before Buddy Hield knocked down his patented transition money ball to put Oklahoma back up by nine points.

Just like that OU was back on top by a wide margin. The Mountaineers were able to claw back within four points with just over three minutes left in the game, but Isaiah Cousins faked right at the top of the key, crossed back over to his left and drained a clutch 3-pointer which put the game away for good.

Hield led the Sooners with 29 points while hitting five of the Sooners’ eight shots from behind the arc. Cousins added 12 points and eight rebounds and Woodard contributed 11 points and a team-high six assists.

One key to the OU victory was the play of its post players—Spangler and Lattin. The duo had struggled as of late, but that wasn’t the case on Saturday as both guys made their presence felt. Lattin had nine points to go with 13 rebounds and a whopping six blocks (five in first half), while Spangler was aggressive throughout and added eight points on 3-for-3 shooting while grabbing six rebounds.

Oklahoma outscored WVU 24-to-10 in transition points while also winning the offensive rebound battle 18-to-15.

Tarik Phillip led the Mountaineers in scoring off the bench with 17 points, while Jaysean Paige added 13.

The Sooners will be back in action on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. when they host Oklahoma State in Norman for Bedlam.