MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Jordan Woodard’s driving layup with 2.5 seconds left in overtime gave Oklahoma an 89-87 come-from-behind victory over seventh-ranked West Virginia at the WVU Coliseum Wednesday night.
Woodard, who led the Sooners with 20 points, missed a free throw with three seconds left that could have won it in regulation. But he sure made up for it in overtime.
“We’re supposed to be the best pressing team in America. How do you let a guy drive right down the floor and shoot a layup?” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said afterward. “Five seconds. In five seconds he drove it the length of the floor and shot a layup to win the game.”
Oklahoma, which defeated West Virginia in Morgantown last year by 14 and has won three times here since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12 five years ago, was a 17-point underdog heading into tonight’s game.
And with nine minutes remaining it looked like WVU was well on its way to a double-digit victory when Jevon Carter
’s driving layup gave it a 66-51 lead.
But then Oklahoma (8-9, 2-4) scored nine straight before Carter’s basket ended the dry spell with seven minutes to go. A Woodard traditional three-point play a minute later got the OU deficit to three, and eventually Rashard Odomes tied it at 69 with 4:25 left.
“We are up 15 and I made a mistake,” admitted Huggins. “They said, ‘Can we spread it and go flat-screen?’ I said yeah and we turned it over two times for layups. Then we missed a free throw, got pushed under the basket and the guy who got pushed under the basket doesn’t get back and they get a dunk at the other end and all of a sudden you don’t have the lead that you had.”
But West Virginia rebuilt it to four twice, 73-69 and 75-71, before Woodard took over the game by going right at and then past the Mountaineer defense. His driving basket with 2:10 to go pulled the Sooners to within two, and he tied it with 45 seconds remaining on another dribble-drive to the hoop.
Carter answered at the other end with 21 seconds left to give WVU a 77-75 lead, but once more, Oklahoma got the ball into Woodard’s hands and he got close enough to the rim to get his short baseline jumper to go down. He was fouled by Esa Ahmad
while doing so.
Woodard’s free throw to win the game bounced off the rim and Adrian’s desperation heave sailed out of bounds at the end regulation after Huggins had called timeout to draw up a play in case Woodard made his foul shot.
In overtime, West Virginia got the lead to four, 85-81, but couldn’t hold onto it at the free throw line and also couldn’t stop Woodard whenever had the ball.
As it did in the overtime loss at Texas Tech earlier this month, West Virginia simply couldn’t convert free throws at crunch time, missing five of seven at one point and finished the overtime period just four out of nine. Overall, West Virginia missed 11 out of 29 for 62.1 percent.
“You don’t have to be a good shooter to make free throws if you put enough time in,” said Huggins. “That’s something you can do on your own and that’s something that doesn’t take a whole lot of effort.”
With 2:02 left, Daxter Miles Jr.
missed one of two; with 1:14 on the clock and West Virginia leading 86-85, Ahmad missed both attempts and then trailing 87-86, Carter rimmed out the first of two. His second one tied the game eight seconds left, but Woodard easily got to the basket to score the game’s deciding bucket.
Oklahoma had little difficulty handling West Virginia’s pressure, OU turning the ball over just 12 times - one less than WVU’s 13.
On his postgame radio show afterward, Huggins listed three reasons why his press did little to affect Oklahoma tonight.
“One, the guy at the other end of the bench is a heck of a coach (Lon Kruger). Secondly, Jordan Woodard is a heck of a player,” said Huggins. “Thirdly, it’s been like pulling teeth to get these guys to work as hard as they were working before in practice and it shows.
“I wanted to throw them out (of practice) yesterday and I got talked into keeping them around which I’m not going to do,” Huggins added. “You have to know who you are and what you are and we don’t have McDonalds All-Americans out there. We don’t have five-star recruits out there. We had a bunch of guys that cared more than everybody else and worked their tails off and competed harder than everybody else did, so we were pretty good. But you have to know who you are.”
Oklahoma’s biggest advantage in tonight’s game came in the paint where it outscored West Virginia 48-36 - many of those coming on lobs for dunks over the Mountaineer defense.
The Sooners were also able to neutralize two of West Virginia’s stronger statistical areas - points off turnovers (15 to 15) and shot attempts (71 to 71).
The loss spoiled an outstanding offensive night for Carter, who led West Virginia with a season-high 23 points. Adrian contributed 14 and Elijah Macon
came off the bench to score a season-high 13.
Freshman Kameron McGusty scored 17, Jamuni McNeace had 14 and Odomes added 13 for Oklahoma.
An announced crowd of 11,895 watched tonight's game.
OU’s victory tonight snaps West Virginia’s 12-game Coliseum winning streak dating back to last year, although the Mountaineers have lost at least two games at home all five seasons they have been members of the Big 12.
Last year, WVU dropped conference home games to Oklahoma and Texas.
The last time West Virginia posted an undefeated season at the WVU Coliseum was in 1982 when the Mountaineers were members of the Eastern Eight Conference.
West Virginia (15-3, 4-2) will look to regroup on the road at Kansas State Saturday evening in a Big 12 game that will tip at 6 p.m. and will be televised nationally on ESPN2.