WVU’s Huggins not happy with players’ efforts in loss

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia coach Bob Huggins has made it clear he wasn’t happy about the ease with which Oklahoma was allowed to score the winning basket Wednesday night.

Jordan Woodard’s driving layup with 2.5 seconds left in overtime gave Oklahoma an 89-87 come-from-behind victory over seventh-ranked West Virginia at the WVU Coliseum.

Woodard, who led the Sooners with 20 points, missed a free throw with three seconds left that could have won it in regulation.  But he sure made up for it in overtime.

“We’re supposed to be the best pressing team in America. How do you let a guy drive right down the floor and shoot a layup?” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said afterward. “Five seconds. In five seconds he drove it the length of the floor and shot a layup to win the game.”

In overtime, West Virginia got the lead to four, 85-81, but couldn’t hold onto it at the free throw line.

As it did in the overtime loss at Texas Tech earlier this month, West Virginia simply couldn’t convert free throws at crunch time, missing five of seven at one point and finished the overtime period just four out of nine. Overall, West Virginia missed 11 out of 29 for 62.1 percent.

“You don’t have to be a good shooter to make free throws if you put enough time in,” said Huggins. “That’s something you can do on your own and that’s something that doesn’t take a whole lot of effort.”

On his postgame radio show afterward, Huggins listed three reasons why his press did little to affect Oklahoma Wednesday.

“One, the guy at the other end of the bench is a heck of a coach (Lon Kruger). Secondly, Jordan Woodard is a heck of a player,” said Huggins. “Thirdly, it’s been like pulling teeth to get these guys to work as hard as they were working before in practice and it shows.

“I wanted to throw them out (of practice) yesterday and I got talked into keeping them around which I’m not going to do,” Huggins added. “You have to know who you are and what you are and we don’t have McDonalds All-Americans out there. We don’t have five-star recruits out there. We had a bunch of guys that cared more than everybody else and worked their tails off and competed harder than everybody else did, so we were pretty good. But you have to know who you are.”

An announced crowd of 11,895 watched Wednesday’s game.

OU’s victory snapped West Virginia’s 12-game Coliseum winning streak dating back to last year, although the Mountaineers have lost at least two games at home all five seasons they have been members of the Big 12.

Last year, WVU dropped conference home games to Oklahoma and Texas.

The last time West Virginia posted an undefeated season at the WVU Coliseum was in 1982 when the Mountaineers were members of the Eastern Eight Conference.

West Virginia (15-3, 4-2) will look to regroup on the road at Kansas State Saturday evening in a Big 12 game that will tip at 6 p.m. and will be televised nationally on ESPN2.

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