Men's Basketball, WVU Sports

No. 15 Oklahoma dominates in the second half to keep WVU’s road woes in full gear

MORGANTOWN — Having thrown everything at Oklahoma except the Sooners’ covered wagon, West Virginia found life on the road in the Big 12 to be taxing once again.

The 15th-ranked Sooners had every answer in the second half, even as the Mountaineers threw multiple defensive looks their way, and Oklahoma ran away with a 77-63 victory Wednesday inside the Lloyd Noble Center.


WVU fell to 2-10 all-time at Oklahoma and has lost both of its true road games in the Big 12 this season by a combined 48 points.

“We weren’t there tonight,” WVU head coach Josh Eilert said on his radio postgame show. “We were a step slow. Our minds were a step slow. Our bodies were a step slow. We couldn’t get the 50-50 balls.”

West Virginia threw a pack line defense, a 2-3 zone as well as some full-court trapping at Oklahoma in the second half.

The Sooners countered by making nearly 64% of its shots over the final 20 minutes and won convincingly despite committing a season-high 19 turnovers.

“They’ve got a really good team, and they play their roles really well,” Eilert said. “If you don’t bring your A game, you’re not going to beat a team like that on the road.”

The first half was just plain ugly, as both schools combined for 19 turnovers and a combined 6 of 21 (28.6%) from 3-point range.

The good news for West Virginia was forward Pat Suemnick was able to fight through his flu-like symptoms — he was isolated on the trip to Norman, Okla. and then had his own hotel room — and was able to remain in the starting lineup.

He played well at the start, scoring six-straight points in the early moments, including a dunk and another basket came from an offensive putback.

Suemnick finished with nine points and seven rebounds. He was the only WVU player to grab an offensive rebound in the game.

The Mountaineers (6-11, 1-3 Big 12) generated little else on the offensive end, though.

RaeQuan Battle, who entered the game averaging 20 points per game, missed his first six shots before finishing the half with a baseline drive and then a 3-pointer.

He never quite found a rhythm in the game and finished with 12 points on just 4 of 13 shooting.

“He digressed from the previous game,” Eilert said. “He’s trying to help in any way he can, but we’ve got to get the ball out of his hands.

“He’s got to understand that we have the advantage on the backside if we can get it out of his hands. He’s got to make the right pass.”

Meanwhile, WVU’s defense kept the clamps early on against Oklahoma guards Javian McCollum and Otega Oweh, who came in averaging a combined 30 points.

McCollum was held to five points — he added eight more in the second half — and Oweh missed all eight shots he attempted in the first half.

That changed in the second half, as Oweh got himself inside and started doing the dirty work.

He scored twice on offensive rebounds, including an and-one three-point play that gave the Sooners (14-3, 2-2) a 61-42 lead with 7:49 remaining.

Oweh finished with 12 points, all coming in the second half. He added a double-double with 10 rebounds, just nine less than the Mountaineers had the entire game. The Sooners finished with a 33-19 rebounding advantage.

Odd thing about that stat is the last time WVU played at Oklahoma, the Mountaineers also had just 19 rebounds.

“We didn’t rebound it whatsoever,” Eilert said.

Jalon Moore got Oklahoma going in the second half with a lob dunk, after he got behind WVU’s zone and stuffed it.

Moore finished with 16 points to lead four Oklahoma players in double figures.

Noah Farrakhan led WVU with 14 points, but missed part of the second half after injuring his knee. He did return to action minutes later.

Quinn Slazinski had 10 points and five rebounds for the Mountaineers.