Mountaineers Aim to get Even with the Sooners
Morgantown, WV – The No. 20 West Virginia Mountaineers (19-9, 7-8) host the Oklahoma Soonersn(17-11, 7-8) Saturday at 4:00 pm on ESPN2.
Three weeks ago, Kristian Doolittle (Sr. F 6-7, 232) was on a five-game stretch of not reaching doubling figures before torching the Mountaineers for 27 points on 9-15 shooting from the field and a perfect 7-7 from the free throw line while notching a double double with 12 rebounds as the Sooners took the first game of the regular season matchup 69-59 in Norman, OK.
Doolittle leads the team in scoring at 15.5 points per game ranking him fifth in the Big 12 and leads the team in rebounds at 8.9 per game. Dating back to the matchup with the Mountaineers is averaging 20.3 points in the last six games.
Brady Manek (Jr. F 6-9, 231) is second on the team with 14.9 ppg and stretches the floor with his ability to shoot the three hitting 38.8% from three. He made a career-high seven threes to go with a career-high 31 points against TCU five games into the Big 12 schedule. Two weeks later, Manek matched the seven threes’ in the Sooners win over Oklahoma State but fell a point short of his career-high in points.
Manek was the only other Sooner to reach double figures against the Mountaineers in the first meeting with 11 points, hitting 3-8 from behind the arc.
Austin Reaves (Jr. G 6-5, 202) rounds out the trio of Sooners that averages double figures at 13.9 ppg Last week, he went for a career-high 24 points in the loss to Oklahoma State. After going for 16 points in a loss to Texas Tech, Reeves went 1-4 from the field for six points against the Mountaineers in game one.
The Sooners again are facing the Mountaineers after matching up with Texas Tech. However, Oklahoma got their revenge at home over the Red Raiders 65-51 Wednesday night. It was a much-needed win after falling to the top two teams in the conference, at Kansas and Baylor, before heading down the road to in-state rival Oklahoma State for 83-66 loss.
West Virginia is coming off back-to-back losses, both on the road, to TCU and Texas. The Mountaineers handled both TCU and Texas at home by an average margin of victory of 35, but the lack of effort on the road continues as West Virginia has now lost six-straight road conference games and has one Big 12 road win in the last two years.
Nonetheless, the Mountaineers are 13-1 at home on the season with the only loss coming to currently ranked No. 1 Kansas.
West Virginia has shot the ball horrifically on the road and the story was no different in Norman a few weeks ago with the Mountaineers shooting a horrendous 24-76 (31.6%) from the field and being outrebounded by one, 42-41.
However, West Virginia is shooting 49.3% from the field in the 14 games inside the WVU Coliseum this season while holding their opponents to 36.3% along with a 13.8 rebounding differential.
The Mountaineers have been a completely different team at home than on the road, of course, it’s been credited to being comfortable with familiar surroundings and a rabid fanbase that energizes the team but as the season winds down and West Virginia losing five out of its last six games, the may not have the same energy, maybe they’ll be too comfortable at home or they’ll continue to dominate in Morgantown.
This is an absolute must win for the Mountaineers. History is on their side holding a 5-2 record over the Sooners in Morgantown including winning the last three games inside the WVU Coliseum.