West Virginia’s plan to stop Oklahoma freshman Trae Young was to double team him all over the court and to foul him as much as possible.
Young, perhaps the best player in college basketball this season, did score 29 points (his season average) but he uncharacteristically missed 14 of 22 shots from the field and OU (12-2, 2-1 in the Big 12) fell to the Mountaineers 89-79 in West Virginia.
“Obviously, this was a tough battle,” said OU coach Lon Kruger. “I thought they got away a little bit there in the later part of the first half. We made a good run to take the lead back there in the second half. Then, they had a stretch or two that gave them a little separation as well. They’re tough. They’re good. Coach (Bob) Huggins’ club is always going to battle and do things well. I thought they did that tonight. We’ve got to learn from it, and we’re going to keep getting better.”
That was the lowest scoring total for OU this season while West Virginia extended its winning streak to 14 games. The loss ended an OU win streak at 10. The double teams led to Young committing eight turnovers – the most for him this season.
WVU’s Jevon Carter picked up four fouls guarding Young and spent most of the second half on the bench.
“Carter is terrific, of course, but when he’s out, the other guys picked up the slack and did a good job for them,” Kruger said. “Again, their style and identity, they do a great job with it, and Carter is the heart of it. When he’s not in there, that doesn’t change what they do, and I thought that they continued to do what they wanted to do and did it well.”
OU’s Jamuni McNeace finished with 12 points, Rashard Odomes had 11 and Kameron McGusty scored 10. Sooner freshman Brady Manek, who had a season-high 28 points in a win over Oklahoma State last week, was held scoreless Saturday.
The Mountaineers shot 55.6 percent (15 of 27) from the field after halftime in improving to 8-0 at home.
“They’re a club that you just have to play,” Kruger said. “You have to space the floor and play. It’s not like you’re running plays necessarily against West Virginia. You just have to space the floor and try to create advantages, and they did a good job of staying home on Brady (Manek) and not giving him a lot of looks.”
OU hosted Texas Tech Tuesday night and will play TCU in Norman at noon Saturday.