West Virginia’s skid is officially up to four games.
The Mountaineers couldn’t find an answer for the Oklahoma forward duo of Tanner and Jacob Groves, who combined for 33 points as they helped the Sooners take down the Mountaineers 72-62 in Morgantown on Wednesday.
“We have been above average defensively, our offense hasn’t been good for quite a while,” said WVU coach Bob Huggins.
The Sooners flirted with the lead out of the gate, trading it 12 times in the first eight minutes, then Tanner, the elder Groves brother, scored six straight points to give them their first multi-possession lead. They held onto that lead until the end.
WVU’s offensive struggles began in the first half as the team gave up 11 turnovers, while making 37.5 percent of its shots. Oklahoma capitalized, building a double-digit lead right before the half.
The Mountaineers were able to cut it back down to five with just seconds to go.
Tanner Groves was the only player at the halftime break with double-digits, but Jacob stole the show as he extended the lead back out to eight at the break with a half-court buzzer beater.
WVU’s struggles carried over into the second half as the Mountaineers again shot below 40 percent in the half. Meanwhile, the Sooners sunk 55.6 percent of their shots.
“We have to run offense, we didn’t want to run offense,” Huggins said. “We told them [the Sooners] run great offense. [OU coach] Porter [Moser] did a great job of bringing in guys who have basketball skills.”
Still, the WVU offense did manage to pester the Sooners. They had 17 takeaways by the end of the game, but were only able to get 17 points from those turnovers. OU, on the other hand, managed 20 points from 15 WVU turnovers.
Gabe Osabuohien emerged as the biggest weapon for WVU on offense, scoring a WVU career-high 17 points with 5-of-6 makes from the field. Seven of his points came from the free throw line off 10 attempts. He also grabbed four rebounds and drew six fouls.
Tanner Groves led the game with 21 points, while pacing the Sooners with six rebounds. Jacob Groves and Umoja Gibson each added 12 points, while Jordan Goldwire added five steals.
Jalen Bridges gave 12 points to the Mountaineers, and led the team with six rebounds. Taz Sherman scored nine in the first half, but was kept largely quiet in the second to finish with 11.
The Mountaineers fall to 13-6 on the season and 2-5 in the league. Oklahoma’s four-game losing streak comes to an end with a win as the team improves to 13-7 overall and 3-5 in the Big 12.
For Huggins, WVU’s fourth straight loss is indicative of several things. He says his team suffered from a lack of execution on offense while allowing to much on defense. Most importantly, though, he notes that his team is lacking in intangibles.
“When your attitude goes, your game goes. I mean you can see that from the NBA down,” Huggins said. “We have guys who aren’t the same people. I mean, for that matter, I’m not sure I am, and again, I’m not trying to blame them.”
The Mountaineers next face Arkansas on the road on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET.