March 14, 2019 / 4:08 AM / 12 days ago

Loss to WVU leaves Oklahoma on tourney bubble

Lamont West scored 15 to lead a balanced scoring effort as West Virginia knocked off Oklahoma 72-71 in the first round of the Big 12 tournament on Wednesday in Kansas City, Mo.

Oklahoma’s Christian James appeared to send the game into overtime with a last-second 3-pointer, but after a review, it was determined that James’ foot was on the arc. The shot was ruled a 2-pointer, and the game was over.

It was the second consecutive meeting between the two in the tournament that ended with a review.

In the 2016 Big 12 tournament, Oklahoma looked as if it had won on a half-court shot, but Buddy Hield’s attempt left his hand a split-second too late.

West Virginia (13-19) will play second-seeded Texas Tech (26-5) on Thursday. The Red Raiders, ranked seventh in the nation, swept the Mountaineers this season.

The Sooners (19-13) were in desperation mode when Jamal Bieniemy fouled Jermaine Haley with seven seconds remaining and the Mountaineers up by three.

Haley missed the free throw on a one-and-one, and Kristian Doolittle grabbed the rebound to set up James’ apparent game-tying shot.

West Virginia kept its season alive for at least one more day.

It’s been a trying season for Bob Huggins’ team, which has sustained injuries — like the knee ailment that has kept star center Sagaba Konate out since early December — and the midseason dismissals of two key players.

But the Mountaineers, even without so many of the players they expected to be the core of their team, have shown plenty of fight, with home wins over Kansas, Oklahoma, TCU and Iowa State in Big 12 play — all potential NCAA Tournament teams.

If Oklahoma doesn’t make the NCAA Tournament — the Sooners figure to be on the bubble after losing in the opener — West Virginia will be a big reason why.

The Mountaineers knocked off the Sooners on Feb. 2 in Morgantown, W.Va., to hurt Oklahoma’s tournament chances. Wednesday’s game further puts a dent in the Sooners’ hopes.

Haley added 14 points for West Virginia and Jordan McCabe 12 — all in the second half.

Brady Manek led the Sooners with 22 points while Doolittle added 18.

—Field Level Media

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