By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
OU started off Big 12 play with an impressive 67-57 win over West Virginia on Saturday. Here’s some rapid reaction:
Trailing 55-51 with a little over five minutes to play, Steven Pledger drilled a three to pull the Sooners within one. Minutes later, after a flurry of OU hoops and West Virginia bricks, that one-point deficit had turned into a comfortable Sooner lead. In all, OU ended the game on an impressive 16-2 run, erasing a 12-point second half lead.
It was over when…
…Romero Osby slammed through a violent two-hand dunk, putting the Sooners up eight with 1:06 remaining. The dagger dunk came off a beautiful feed from freshman Buddy Heild (who had six points and two assists in the game’s final five minutes) and sent the disheartened Mountaineer fans to the exits early. A typically abysmal road team, OU came into Morgantown and ruined West Virginia’s Big 12 debut.
Star of the game – Romero Osby
The Sooner rotation runs 10-deep, with Lon Kruger ready and willing to knife deep into his bench at any time, hoping to spark a balanced team that lacks star power. But regardless of his fluid rotation, Kruger occasionally gets a big performance from some of his default number one options. And he got a huge one in the Big 12 opener on Saturday, with senior leader Romero Osby exploding for 21 points (on 7/10 shooting) and nine rebounds. He was powerful yet always in control, dominating West Virginia’s bulky front line.
Bench specialist Cam Clark provided the exclamation point on OU’s 12-point comeback, slicing through the lane and throwing down a ferocious one-hander on top of WVU big man Kevin Noreen (who was called for a foul on the play). With the free throw, it gave OU its first lead of the second half with 9:14 left and ushered in the eventual 16-2 run to close it.
“Woah…Welcome to the Big 12, West Virginia.” -The announcer’s reaction to Clark’s highlight slam
Stat of the game
With today’s win, OU has already equaled its number of conference road wins from last season (when the Sooners went 1-8). Since the 2009-10 season, including Saturday’s win, OU is 3-23 in Big 12 road games.
OU gets a long rest before a big test next Saturday. Oklahoma State comes to Norman next Saturday for the first 2013 edition of Bedlam, a big one for both teams trying to end NCAA tournament droughts.