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Tanner Groves Leads Oklahoma Over WVU, 72-62, Mountaineers Drop Fourth Straight



Photo Julia Mellett / WVSN

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In a must-win game, West Virginia dropped its fourth-straight on Wednesday night, losing to the Oklahoma Sooners 72-62, behind 21 points from Tanner Groves.

Groves was having everything that he wanted against the West Virginia (13-6, 2-5 Big 12) defense. Against Isaiah Cottrell and Pauly Paulicap, Groves was able to get into the paint and hook it right over the defenders. Groves also spread the floor out, making his threes. Groves shot 9-of-11 from the field with six rebounds. The Eastern Washington transfer helped the Sooners (13-7, 3-5 Big 12) score 34 points in the paint.

Down by double digits in the second half, WVU needed some answers quick on offense. Who was it going to be? None other than Gabe Osabuohien. The fifth-year senior was creating plays on both sides of the floor. Osabuohien ended the game with 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting with four rebounds and two assists.

Oklahoma was able to close out the game, as the Sooners hit threes and multiple pairs of free-throws. Umoja Gibson and Jacob Groves played a huge part in producing that offense to finish West Virginia.

In the opening stages of the first half, Taz Sherman and Cottrell connected on two threes each. The Mountaineers had six points in the first two minutes and scored 16 the rest of the first half. Once again, the Mountaineers lacked all energy on the offensive end, just jogging and passing the ball around until it was time to force up a shot.

It seemed like after Cottrell’s early first-half three that the redshirt freshman would get it going. Not one bit. Cottrell finished with that three, missing his next five shots.

A block by Cottrell resulted in a slam dunk by Jalen Bridges. The Fairmont native then hit a three-pointer to give the Mountaineers some life out of the break.

It wasn’t until the 14-minute mark in the second half where Sean McNeil got into the scoring column. McNeil made two free throws after getting fouled driving to the basket. The senior guard struggled getting the ball to go in all night, as McNeil recorded seven points on 1-of-6 shooting.

As a team, West Virginia shot 38 percent from the field and 25 percent from three.

At the end of the first half, Oklahoma’s Jacob Groves hit a half-court shot to give the Sooners an eight-point lead.

Notable scorers for West Virginia were Osabuohien (17), Bridges (12) and Sherman (11).

West Virginia will look to end its four-game losing streak on Saturday, when they travel to Fayette, Ar. to take on Arkansas in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. The Mountaineers and Razorbacks are set to tipoff at 2 p.m. on ESPN2.

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