Morgantown, WV—The Oklahoma Sooners dropped their sixth conference game of the season against the Mountaineers on Saturday. Sloppy play was prominent for both teams with the Sooners falling short in key situations.
After trading punches for the majority of the first half, West Virginia took a 33-26 halftime lead. The Mountaineers closed out the first half by going on an 8-0 run and keeping OU scoreless for the last 3:27 of the half.
The first half would be the last time that the Sooners held the lead.
With 6:03 left in the second half, OU pulled within one but could not gain enough momentum against Bob Higgins’ team. The Sooners would keep it tight, despite not making a shot from the floor between 8:37 and 2:08. During that time Oklahoma made 10 of 11 free throws.
Senior Christian James had a rough day, shooting 1-10 from the floor. He managed to score 10 points by going 8-8 at the charity stripe.
Brady Manek led the way offensively for the Sooners, putting up 18 points on 7-10 shooting. In the first half, Manek scored 7 of the Sooners first 8 points. In the second half, Manek scored 11 points to keep Oklahoma within striking range. Manek’s last three attempts were his only misses from the floor on the day.
Aaron Calixte complimented Manek’s performance, scoring 17 points in 27 minutes off the bench. Calixte’s role increased due to Miles Reynolds and Jamal Bieniemy both being in foul trouble and fouling out midway through the second half.
Overall, Oklahoma played poorly but fought to the very end. Coach Lon Kruger has an uphill battle to get his team back into the top half of the Big 12 standings and NCAA Tournament discussions. As it stands right now, OU may very well be left out of the tournament.
Oklahoma has lost 4 of their last 5 conference games and the schedule is not getting any easier. OU will host No. 20 Iowa State on Monday and No. 16 Texas Tech on Saturday before traveling to Waco on Feb. 11 to avenge a 30-point home loss to the Baylor Bears.