When the No. 14 Mountaineers needed a surge of momentum, they delivered.
Until they ran out of gas.
It took two overtimes to declare a winner as WVU hosted the No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday. A layup attempt in the final moments could not go, earning Oklahoma the 91-90 win.
Derek Culver, who has struggled against the Sooners as of late, was the engine for West Virginia offensively early on, allowing the Mountaineers to get out to a fast start and take possession of the lead.
Culver, who has scored 11 total points over WVU’s last three matchups against Oklahoma, topped that number in the final minutes of the first half. Come the halftime buzzer, he accounted for nearly half of the team’s first-half points.
Outside of Culver, normally productive players like Miles McBride and Taz Sherman struggled, going a combined 5-of-14 from the field in the first half.
Oklahoma was able to take advantage of West Virginia’s offensive miscues, eventually building a lead over the Mountaineers. But, after McBride sank a half-court jumper as the buzzer sounded, the two teams entered the break with the score tied at 31.
Opening the second half, the two teams traded punches, but it was the Sooners that gained the upper hand. The Mountaineers’ shooting woes continued in the second half, allowing Oklahoma to take hold of the lead and then some.
With less than five minutes remaining, West Virginia (14-6) was propelled by McNeil, who sank three straight 3-point shots after Oklahoma built a nine-point lead, allowing the Mountaineers to tie the score at 68.
A late basket by Oklahoma sent the two teams to overtime, where things continued to stay close — so close that the teams needed a second overtime to declare a winner.
The two teams traded baskets before Oklahoma took a 91-90 lead in the final minute. WVU brought the ball toward the hoop in the final seconds, but each attempt fell short.
Finishing with a team-leading 29 points and 14 rebounds, Culver earned his 10th double-double of the season. McNeil finished second in scoring with 21, while McBride finished with 19.
Sherman, who was slated to start before being a late scratch, ended the night with five points off of the bench.
Up Next: West Virginia’s next scheduled game is next Saturday, when the Mountaineers will take on the Texas Longhorns on the road. Tipoff will come at 3 p.m., and the game will be televised on ABC.