Sooners survive another scare with last-second win over West Virginia
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Khadeem Lattin made the most of his second chance, and now the Oklahoma Sooners could be on the verge of a No. 1 ranking.
Twelve days after Lattin missed a free throw that could have beaten Kansas in a game the Sooners eventually lost in triple overtime, his tip-in with one second remaining Saturday gave No. 2 Oklahoma a 70-68 victory over No. 11 West Virginia.
"It was kind of a redemption game for me," Lattin said.
With the score tied at 68, Oklahoma's Jordan Woodard drove hard to the hoop and missed, but Lattin's man moved over to help, leaving him available for the tip-in.
"Getting to tip it in was great, but we all contributed to that win, and it was just my time at that moment to tip it in, I guess," Lattin said.
Buddy Hield scored 17 points, Jordan Woodard had 13 and Ryan Spangler added 10 points and 14 rebounds for the Sooners (15-1, 4-1 Big 12).
Oklahoma is in position to move to No. 1 in the AP poll since top-ranked Kansas lost to West Virginia on Tuesday. It would be the Sooners' first No. 1 ranking since March 1990.
"It's not something our guys focus on or think about every day, necessarily, or even have conversations about," Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. "But they're fans, we all are, and it's great, but it's all about getting better tomorrow. The leadership of this group, the senior group, Jordan and those guys know that whatever is today is OK, but it's nothing in terms of what we have to keep doing in Big 12 play in terms of getting better to keep challenging the opposition that lies ahead."
There's no time to relax or savor the win. The Sooners play at No. 17 Iowa State on Monday.
"That's the way the league is, and why it's so special," Kruger said. "That's why these guys are here -- they like that challenge, they like that competition. Iowa State's great.... and it's a quick turnaround for sure."
The Sooners won despite shooting a season-low 33.3 percent.
Jaysean Paige scored 18 points for West Virginia (15-2, 4-1), which was coming off the big win over Kansas. The Mountaineers were trying to become first team to beat No. 1 and No. 2 in consecutive game since Kansas beat North Carolina and Memphis in the 2008 Final Four.
West Virginia entered the day alone in first place in the Big 12. They might have remained there had they shot better than 13 for 22 from the free throw line. The Mountaineers turned the ball over 16 times.
"What kills us is when we go to the free throw line and can't make free throws," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. "You can't shoot 50 percent from the free throw line, and you can't turn it over the way we turned it over."
Woodard grabbed an offensive rebound to set up Hield for a 3-pointer that gave the Sooners a 34-32 lead late in the first half. Hield blocked Jevon Carter's shot at the buzzer, and the teams were tied at 34 at the break.
A 3-pointer by Hield put the Sooners up 39-34 in the opening minutes of the second half. Oklahoma's Isaiah Cousins was called for a flagrant foul with 15:11 remaining. Paige made two free throws to put the Mountaineers up 42-41, and Daxter Miles, Jr. scored on the inbounds pass to make it a three-point lead for West Virginia.
The Mountaineers expanded their lead to seven before the Sooners bounced back. Two free throws by Spangler gave Oklahoma the lead, and a 3-pointer by Woodard put the Sooners up 55-51 with about 9 minutes to play. The Sooners led 65-58 with 4:32 remaining before West Virginia rallied.
Hield was held below 20 points after scoring at least that many in the previous nine games. During that stretch, he averaged 30.4 points.
ON THE RISE
Lattin has blocked 19 shots in five conference games after blocking 16 in his first 11 contests.
Huggins, on Devin Williams' finishing with just five points and six rebounds because of foul trouble: "Devin Williams is ... probably a first team all-league guy if he can play. He plays 15 minutes. That doesn't help us. We want to sit here and talk about their second-chance points. It's a hell of a lot easier to get second-chance points when he's not on the floor."
West Virginia: Missed its first five shots and didn't score for the first 3:38. ... Shot 48 percent in the first half. ... Committed 27 fouls.
Oklahoma: Five of the Sooners' eight first-half field goals were 3-pointers. ... Outscored West Virginia 13-3 at the free throw line in the first half and 27-13 overall. ... Lattin played just 6 minutes in the first half because of foul trouble.
West Virginia hosts Texas on Wednesday.
Oklahoma plays at No. 17 Iowa State on Monday.
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