Men's basketball: OU seniors come up big in final game at Lloyd Noble Center
Astrud Reed, The Oklahoma Daily
Senior forward Romero Osby and senior guard Steven Pledger saved some of their best performances for their last home game.
The Oklahoma men’s basketball team was able to hold off a pesky West Virginia squad to win, 83-70.
Despite leading for the entire game, The Sooners (20-9, 11-6 Big 12) were unable to put away the Mountaineers (13-17, 6-11 Big 12) until the closing minutes.
After taking a 39-28 lead into the half, the Sooners allowed the Mountaineers to whittle their lead down to 44-41 on a 3-pointer from junior center Aaric Murray.
However, OU never faltered and was able to build the lead back up with clutch play from Pledger, Osby and senior forward Andrew Fitzgerald.
“It meant a lot [to have a big last home game],” Pledger said. “I’ve been here all four years, I’ve been through ups and downs. It definitely meant a lot to me.
Osby echoed Pledger’s sentiments, saying that, while playing his last game at Lloyd Noble Center was bittersweet, it meant a lot to leave on a high note.
Both players did a great job of stuffing the box score, with Osby scoring 26 points to go along with six rebounds and Pledger putting up 23 points with a team-high eight rebounds.
The game was kept close by heroic efforts from two West Virginia players, freshman guard Eron Harris and senior forward Deniz Kilicli.
Kilicli was an efficient force down low, finishing with 20 points on 9-for-13 shooting.
However, it was Harris who truly kept the Mountaineers in the game. His barrage of 3-pointers in the second half, (five for the game) were the biggest threat to the Sooner lead. He ended up scoring 23 points.
The win keeps the Sooners moving toward a potential NCAA Tournament berth, what would be their first since the 2008-2009 season.
“As a fan of the game, you are always looking and trying to find out what’s going on as far as [the NCAA Tournament],” Osby said. “But as a player, you have to just stay focused on the next game. We’re excited that we might have an opportunity to get there but we know that our work isn’t done.”
Oklahoma still needs to take care of business in their final regular season game at TCU on Saturday, but this win added to a solid résumé.
“We got a very good win over a ballclub that played awfully hard,” coach Lon Kruger said.” They opened the ballgame very well and our guys have done a really good job of focusing on getting each other ready to play and they’ve been very consistent.”