MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) Jordan Woodward’s return from a leg injury has infused some hope in Oklahoma’s season.
Woodard’s layup with 2.2 seconds left in overtime lifted the Sooners to an 89-87 victory over No. 7 West Virginia on Wednesday night.
Woodard scored 18 of his 20 points after halftime in his second start since missing four games.
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After scoring 27 points in a win over Texas Tech on Saturday, Woodard made a jumper with 3.1 seconds left in regulation that tied it at 77-77, then made two baskets in the final minute of overtime.
Oklahoma (8-9, 2-4 Big 12) has won two straight for the first time since late November.
”Our team confidence is definitely going to take another step after getting a win on Saturday, and today on the road,” Woodard said
West Virginia (15-3, 4-2) lost for the first time at home this season, one week after blowing out then-top ranked Baylor in Morgantown.
”We ran into a team that got their best player back,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. ”I’m at a loss.”
Freshman Kameron McGusty added 17 points for Oklahoma in just his third start of the season. Sophomore Jamuni McNeace had a career-high 14 points, Rashard Odomes added 13 and freshman Kristian Doolittle scored six of his 12 points in overtime.
”Jordan was outstanding all night long and he got a lot of help from a lot of different people, too,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. ”It’s tough to do that on the road against a really good team.”
After Jevon Carter tied it with a free throw with 7.8 seconds left in overtime, Woodard drove the lane and scored as he fell for the winning points.
”How do you catch it and go the length of the floor in 5 seconds?” Huggins said. ”And we’re supposed to be the best pressing team in America.”
West Virginia threw the ball way on the ensuing inbounds play.
Carter scored a season-high 23 points, Nathan Adrian added 14 and Elijah Macon had a season-high 13 for the Mountaineers.
Oklahoma stormed back from a 15-point deficit with an 18-3 run to tie it at 69-69 with 4:18 left in regulation. Woodard scored Oklahoma’s final six points. He was fouled on his last shot attempt of regulation but missed a free throw that would have won it.
”I just tried to redeem myself after missing a free throw late,” Woodard said.
Oklahoma: Kruger is in the midst of a challenging season after taking the Sooners to the Final Four a year ago. Oklahoma had lost seven of its previous eight games, but its solid play Wednesday proved there’s no quit in this season.
”After dropping so many games, we had to collectively get together and just stick to the game plan that Coach gave us,” Woodard said.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers struggled for the second straight game against a young opponent. After sneaking past Texas 74-72 on Saturday, the Mountaineers were manhandled inside early by Oklahoma and were lax defensively down the stretch in the second half.
McGusty, a 6-foot-5 guard, and the 6-10 McNeace presented matchup problems for West Virginia. They helped break West Virginia’s defensive pressure and each had scored in double figures by halftime when the Sooners led 37-34. Oklahoma committed 12 turnovers for the game- half the number that West Virginia forces.
FREE THROW WOES
The Mountaineers’ season free throw percentage of 65 percent ranks 303rd in Division I and is on pace to be the worst in Huggins’ 10 seasons. West Virginia went 4 of 9 in overtime against Oklahoma and 18 of 29 (62 percent) for the game.
”I think it’s very demoralizing,” Huggins said. ”I’d just as soon they’d throw it out of bounds.”
Oklahoma hosts Iowa State on Saturday.
West Virginia plays at Kansas State on Saturday then returns home to face No. 2 Kansas on Tuesday.
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