March 6, 2013
Sooners deal WVU fifth straight loss

NORMAN, Okla. -- Well, one part of West Virginia's seemingly interminable basketball season is over. At least the Mountaineers don't have any more Big 12 road trips.

Yes, there's still next week's league tournament in Kansas City. But at least there are no more visits to strange places with hostile crowds and returns in the wee hours of the morning.

West Virginia's last one, Wednesday night to the Lloyd Noble Center, went like so many of the ones before it. The Mountaineers had their moments, but not nearly enough of them.

"It's like Groundhog Day. Every day's the same,'' WVU coach Bob Huggins said. "It doesn't matter who the other team is.''

This time it was Oklahoma -- for the third time this season -- and in the end the Sooners this one, 83-70. They ran out to an early lead and then fought off multiple WVU challenges down the stretch.

The Mountaineers were as close as four points with five minutes to play, but faded in the end, including a brief stretch that included three of their 13 turnovers.

"We cut it to four and had the ball and then threw it to them,'' Huggins said. "But that's kind of an ongoing thing with us.''

Indeed, as is losing. This loss was the fifth in a row for West Virginia (13-17, 6-11 Big 12), which has lost five straight for the first time since 2005 team that reached the Elite Eight lost that many in the middle of the season. It is also the first time in Huggins's Division I coaching career that he has lost five in a row. Before the current streak, he'd not lost as many as four in a row since his first season at Akron in 1984-85. He lost five one time in a row at Walsh, but that was in the NAIA.

The Mountaineers will try to avoid stretching the skid to six games when they finish the regular season at home Saturday afternoon against Iowa State. The 1:30 p.m. game will be the final home game for fourth-year senior Deniz Kilicli, as well as transfer seniors Dominique Rutledge and Matt Humphrey.

Oklahoma (20-9, 11-6) strengthened what already seems to be a fairly safe NCAA resume with its fifth win in seven games. The Sooners' two losses in that stretch were both in overtime. It was also OU's third win this season over West Virginia.

Eron Harris scored 23 points and Kilicli for the Mountaineers, who also got 10 from Aaric Murray.

Both teams shot better than 50 percent from the floor, including West Virginia's 53 percent after starting the game 4-of-11. The Mountaineers were a blistering 16-of-23 in the second half, 69.6 percent.

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