WVU’s Rally Falls Short
NORMAN, Okla. – Romero Osby scored 26 points, Steven Pledger chipped in 23 and Oklahoma led wire to wire for the fourth straight home game, beating West Virginia 83-70 on Wednesday night.
The Mountaineers (13-17, 6-11 Big 12) trimmed a 17-point deficit down to three in the opening minutes of the second half and were within four with 5 minutes left before Andrew Fitzgerald converted a three-point play off a driving layup before hitting a jumper on back-to-back possessions. Pledger followed with a 3-pointer that circled the rim before falling in to make it 76-64 with 3:16 remaining.
Sam Grooms tied his career best with 10 assists for the Sooners (20-9, 11-6), who moved another step closer to an NCAA tournament bid.
It was the last game at the Lloyd Noble Center for Osby, Pledger, Fitzgerald and Grooms – all of them seniors.
Eron Harris had four of his five 3-pointers in the second half and led West Virginia with 23 points. Deniz Kilicli scored 20.
For a time, West Virginia threatened to return the favor after the Sooners rallied from 12 points down in the second half to spoil the Mountaineers’ Big 12 debut in Morgantown in January.
Harris made a pair of 3-pointers during a 13-4 rally that got West Virginia within 66-62 with 6:58 to play, and Kilicli hit a left-handed hook shot a couple possessions later to once again make it a four-point game. But the Sooners, who haven’t trailed at home since Feb. 9, again found a way to stay ahead.
The victory completed a three-game sweep of the season series for Oklahoma. The teams also met in a Thanksgiving weekend tournament in Florida.
Kilicli scored the last six points of the first half, sparking a 19-5 run that made it a game again. Aaric Murray’s 3-pointer cut the deficit to 44-41, but Amath M’Baye answered from behind the arc at the other end as the Sooners started building their lead back to double figures.
Another 3-pointer by M’Baye made it 62-49 midway through the second half before the Mountaineers mounted another charge that came up short.
Oklahoma finished off its fifth straight win at home, never trailing against TCU, Baylor, Iowa State and West Virginia.
The Sooners jumped out to a 10-1 lead and followed that soon after with a string of 12 points in a row, including 3-pointers by Osby and Grooms.