Oklahoma gets new life in 76-62 win over West Virginia

Buddy Hield outscored the starting five for West Virginia Saturday as Oklahoma raced past the Mountaineers 76-62 in a key Big 12 road win.

No. 3 Oklahoma had lost three out of the last four before Hield, the favorite for college basketball player of the year, poured in 29 points. The starting five for WVU had a total of 23 points.
And OU outrebounded West Virginia by 48 to 37, which negated some of the Mountaineer’s full-court pressure.

“I think the biggest thing is we got destroyed on the glass,” said WVU coach Bob Huggins. “They out rebounded us as bad as we’ve been out rebounded all year. They made more shots than we did. They have (senior guard) Buddy Hield, and we don’t.

“We generally hold our own on the glass, we didn’t do it today. That was the whole emphasis. They got 21 points in Norman on missed shots and kickbacks to guys, fifteen of those were from three. It’s not like we didn’t focus on it or prepare, we just didn’t do it today.”

OU improved to 21-5 and to 9-5 in the Big 12, in third place (two games behind Kansas and a half game behind WVU). OU improved to 6-3 this season against teams ranked in the AP’s top 25. It was the Sooners’ second win versus a top-10 team this year (Villanova).

“Every game is important when you are a couple games behind, as we are,” said OU coach Lon Kruger. “We still may be too far back now but we can’t do anything about what happened last week. We have to do what we can to take care of business moving forward. The last two weeks of conference play coming up, and everyone is going to be really tough.”

OU hosted Oklahoma State in the second round of Bedlam Wednesday night. The Sooners have a rematch at Texas at 1 p.m. Saturday. They host Baylor March 1 and end the regular season with a trip to TCU on March 5.

“West Virginia is always tough,” Kruger said. “They’re very big and physical inside and I thought our inside guys fought it pretty well. Guards got down in there and dug around a little bit and helped them out.”

Against West Virginia, Khadeem Lattin had nine points, 13 rebounds, six blocks and three steals. It marked his fifth game this season with at least six blocked shots. The three steals marked a career high for the sophomore.

“Khadeem (Lattin) was fantastic on the boards,” said Kruger.

Hield was 5 for 11 with three-point shots, marking the 11th time this season he has hit at least 5 in a game. Hield broke OU’s single-season record for 3-pointers made (109). He shot past Nate Erdmann’s previous record of 105.

Hield climbed past 2,000 career points with his game-high 29. The senior became the sixth Sooner in history to hit the 2K plateau (Hield now has 2,026 career points). Hield moved into the top 5 of OU’s all-time scoring chart. Hield (2,026) passed Stacey King (2,008) into fifth.

“Buddy (Hield) hit critical shots time after time as he’s done,” Kruger said.