MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — An aborted charter jet landing. Spending half a night in Newark, of all places. A 12-point first-half deficit. Foul trouble for Ryan Spangler.
And still the No. 21-ranked Sooner men's basketball team came close to making their trip a winner wonderland.
But West Virginia's Eron Harris hit a game-tying 3-pointer with 24 seconds left in regulation, then two huge 3-pointers in overtime to lift the Mountaineers to a 91-86 victory Wednesday night at the WVU Coliseum.
“He made big shots,” said OU coach Lon Kruger said of Harris, who scored 26 of his 28 points after having just. “Terrific player. Terrific shooter. We didn't slow him much in the second half.”
With the win, West Virginia moved into a third-place tie with Oklahoma in the Big 12. Both teams are 6-4 in the league.
The Sooners were down 14 points early in the second half and trailed 77-70 with less than four minutes to play.
But OU held West Virginia to one point over 31/2 minutes; Spangler's 3-point play and Tyler Neal's two foul shots gave the Sooners an 81-78 lead with 1:18 left.
But Harris tied the game, and OU's Isaiah Cousins missed a contested 3-point shot in the final seconds.
Kruger declined to call timeout at the start of that possession and stood by the decision.
“We had such good rhythm, good flow through those last four or five possessions,” Kruger said. “Obviously didn't get the shot we wanted out of that.”
In overtime, OU led 83-81 on Jordan Woodard's 17-footer, but Harris hit a go-ahead 3-pointer. After Woodard's foul shot tied the game with 2:52 left, Harris hit a tie-breaking 3-pointer.
OU's last hurrah came when Neal missed two 3-point shots seven seconds apart with West Virginia leading 89-86.
The Sooner team charter aborted its landing at the Clarksburg (W.Va.) airport early Wednesday after a delayed departure from Oklahoma City. Poor visibility due to the wintry conditions prompted air traffic controllers to divert the plane to New Jersey. The OU plane landed in Newark around 3 a.m. With air traffic delayed all over the Eastern Seaboard, the Sooner charter didn't leave Newark until 3:30 p.m. Eastern time. It landed in Clarksburg at 5, two hours before tipoff, and bused the 30 minutes to Morgantown.
Kruger didn't blame the travel troubles on the slow start or the defeat.
“I didn't see any effect,” Kruger said. “These guys are young. They just love to play.
“Disappointing loss. Tough ballgame. West Virginia did a great job in the first half knocking us on our heels a little bit.”
Harris was helped by point guard Juwan Staten, who scored 20 points. And WVU's Terry Henderson had 17 points, 13 in the first half when the Mountaineers dominated.