MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Sometimes magical games occur in half-full arenas, with the star of the night spending the first half in shiftless exile.

Such was the magic that found Eron Harris on Wednesday, or more accurately, the magic he generated, during a crazy and clutch second half that begat an equally clutch overtime.

He had two points at halftime. He had 28 at game’s end. He had the shot of his life in between.

That’s not hyperbole.

The 19-year-old professed he had never made a basket like the tying 3-pointer he willed through with 24 seconds left in regulation.

“That’s my first shot like that—ever,” Harris admitted after West Virginia outlasted No. 21 Oklahoma 91-86 in overtime.

BOXSCORE: West Virginia 91, Oklahoma 86 (OT)

It was a rescue job of the highest order, salvaging West Virginia from the squandered 14-point lead against travel-weary No. 21 Oklahoma. (Hard to scoff at a crowd of 7,538 when the visiting team nearly failed to show.)

The Sooners, in case you hadn’t heard, endured a two-day trek from Norman to Morgantown—making three failed passes at the snow-covered runway in Clarksburg on Tuesday before finally touching down in Newark, where more winter delays awaited. Lon Kruger’s squad missed its scheduled shoot-around Wednesday, yet shot its way back from a blowout with a brassy second half.

An 11-1 run put Team Travelocity up 81-78 inside the final minute with the ball. But when 23-point scorer Jordan Woodard missed from in close with 33 seconds left, West Virginia had its chance.

Harris had his chance.

Did you really think WVU was thinking quick-2 when Harris had spent the second half launching long-3s? He took the ball on a screen and found himself facing the 6-foot-9 Ryan Spangler on the switch.

Harris wasn’t clear—but feeling the responsibility of a 17-point half—let fly. Splash, and it became a 20-point half. And the exiting Coliseum crowd U-turned in eruption. (“Who was leaving? Why would they leave?” Harris said. “Maybe they were probably trying to get home because of the weather.”)

Bob Huggins admitted the play wasn’t as open as he’d hoped, yet it must have been open enough.

“We got Spangler on him, made him drop his hands and Eron made a hard shot,” the coach said. “Made a hard, hard shot.”

Oklahoma settled for its own hard shot after milking the final 22 seconds of regulation. Kruger ignored his three timeouts in hopes his in-the-flow offense could exploit WVU as it had done on recent possessions.

“But we didn’t get the shot we wanted,” Kruger said of Isaiah Cousins’ contested 23-footer. “If I had it to do over again, I would probably make a different decision.”

West Virginia’s first two baskets of OT were more of the same from Harris—faraway shots you might reserve for H-O-R-S-E but not necessarily a Big 12 game. After the second one sent WVU ahead for good at 87-84, Harris gave in to goofy hysteria, yanking up his shorts to his waist and showing off his tighty-whitey compression gear.

“I almost don’t know how to react to a lot of this stuff, because I didn’t think I was ever going to be in this situation,” he said. “I didn’t think I was going to be here. Everything that happens now is like a dream.”

Yet Harris’ big night, just like West Virginia’s fast-rising postseason hopes, are no hallucination.


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Comments

  • WVcoal

    This team keeps getting better -- look like they are leaving it all on the court. Staten has proven himself yet again as an offensive threat and an asset on defense. Last night, Harris looked like the offensive threat we've needed to compliment Staten. I hope Harris maintains this offensive level of play and continues improving on defense. IMO we still need one more solid and consistent scoring threat. Henderson continues to get better and is almost there -- Dibo scores the basket at times as does Adrian.

  • FNP

    Kansas is going to be a tough match up for sure but we just need to keep it close and be in the game in the final minute.

  • Anthony

    I like Staten's hustle play toward the end of OT when the ball was loose in the Oklahoma paint. He flew in there and got it.

    • WVcoal

      +1 We need the entire team to have that level of hustle for the entire game. When we get to that point, then we've really got something special.

  • William101

    Nice to see just a little optimism from our fans. The road just keeps getting tougher, but 6-4 in Big 12 play is sweet. Kansas is not a good matchup, but I am excited to see how Huggs game plans this game. We need to stay out of foul trouble, and it wouldn't hurt if all three of our guards have solid games. From my POV, the excitement has returned to Mountaineer BB. We've had a serious chance to win most of the games we've lost, with KSU and Texas being the worst losses IMO.

  • justin

    its great to win. its also great to not read ignorant comments about huggins and the team. cant wait till holton and macon are on the team.

    • GoEers

      +1

    • Dave

      And 1.

      • John

        Plus 10. So sick of the cheap shots at huggs. He is the best thing to happen in wvu basketball in years!! You add thd 4 guys to the ones we have now. Wow. This team is going to be a freakin handful. We become contenders next couple yrs

  • Country Roads

    Wow.....sure am glad I drug myself out into more miserable weather for this one! Great game, and I agree that this team is growing with every game and really has the makings of something special. That was guts and willpower not to let this game get away.

    That said, I have to say, I've watched a few collegiate games in my 60 years but I have never ever witnessed the refereeing debacle I saw last night. Absolutely laughable, they had no idea. I don't recall exactly, but I don't think they called a charge the entire game...either way! Then the confusion on shooting and non-shooting fouls, clock management, and I hate to sound like this, but an obvious disdain for WV players and the exact opposite for the Sooners. I know that sounds petty and amateur fan-like, but it was very obvious and they were very bad. And that's what continues to be worry me about this entire Big 12 fiasco. I just don't know that we ever get respect there. Let's see how the media handles a written-off team sitting in 3rd place among the mighty.....hope they prove me wrong and these guys get the credit they deserve even for this 3 game run.

    • Fl Mountie fan

      Totally agree CR!! I thought I might jump through the tv a couple of times! I have to give it to Huggs, saw a technical coming his way! This team did not let it get
      them down and they responded! Great win even with horrible officiating!

  • JHT

    The WVU team of earlier in the season would have lost that game. Those young fellows are growing with every game.

  • Chris1529

    Certainly a different looking team than the one that showed up for that horrible game against Texas on Monday Jan 13th. Imagine if WV could have gotten at least one of the wins against OK State...would be looking real good then. Funny thing about last nights game, even with all the horrible foul calls against WV, the Eers still shot more free throws.

  • Aaron

    What a great win, a much needed, soul searching, possible set up for an NCAA run win. It is most certainly a great day to be a Mountaineer.

    As good as Harris was, he was equally as bad when he tried to create for himself. His turnover when he left his feet and gave me heart palpitations. I can only imagine what it did to Hall of Fame Coach Bob Huggins.

    If this kid will just Ray Allen his game, he can make a lot of money doing what he loves.

    • Bill

      I agree Aaron, if both Harris and Brown can learn to play under control, with a little defense on the side they can become solid players.

  • Jay

    I just realized this team has NO seniors on it. It's a great time for WVU basketball!

    • Aaron

      Added to everyone coming back are two outstanding post players plus the recruits HOF Coach Bob Huggins brings in.

      As good as this team is becoming under the watchful eye of a great coach, it will only get better if everyone who can play next year does.

      And here the naysayers would have you believe WV basketball is dead and our HOF coach needs replaced.

      Pa-lease

      • GoEers

        Yeah I am wondering where some of these guys are now that claim Bob Huggins is not a great coach, or that he doesn't care.

        Where are all the trolls that said WVU would have a losing season and would be a doormat in the Big 12. Where is all their jealousy and hatred at now?

        It's a Great Day to be a Mountaineer Wherever you may be!!!!

        • The Wisetalker

          We are still right here...as always...listening to your foolish rhetoric as we always do...

          And quit praising your man/god Huggins...

          Give the players some credit for stepping up and making shots...that is what the difference is...and hopefully it will continue...

          • Aaron

            When the Mountaineers were losing, you were the one of the individuals saying that it was because of the coach, his recruiting, the way he managed players, and how he address the officials.

            Now that they're winning, you want to give all the credit to the players.

            I'm pretty sure we all understand you.

  • jay zoom

    this game should of never gone to overtime but a win is a win. once again WVU failed to hold a sizeable lead but in the end the outcome was great. big tests yet to come

    • FNP

      You're right, but we got the win and thats all that matters. We played the #21 team in the country and beat them. It doesn't matter how we beat them. Everybody makes a run in games and Oklahoma is no different.

  • richard

    GREAT WIN. this is a gutty, blue collar, west virginia team. huggins is what he is......a hall of fame coach.

  • tweagle

    this is the basketball version of the Kardiak Kids (LOL) . . . never make it look easy . . .
    gotta tease the other guys . . . ?. . .

    these Mounties might be looking at an invite to the 'real' dance if they hadn't thrown away the Va T & first Okie St games . . . BUT , then again , they might not have pulled together so well as a TEAM if they hadn't had some adversity to whet their desire to execute better & start winning . . .

    personally , two more wins & a .500 record , and i'll be as happy as a pig in u know what . . . me thinks these Mounties won't be satisfied with that kind of finish . . .

    Let's Gooo Mountaineeerrrsss ! ! !

  • mad hatter

    imo,, watkins has huge potential... if he stays here thru his senior yr, he will be a very very good bb player. and i can say the same for williams,,,, work work work,, AND AGAIN.
    GET YOUR DEGREE...

    • rdl

      Would have been nice if they could have redshirted him this years. Number of players wouldn't let them do it.

      • mad hatter

        both he and williams, but due to recruiting, they had to play...i think williams is starting to find out he isn't quite as good as he thought he was, after some statements he made early on. this isn't high school..
        i see dennis rodman in watkins,,i think he can be a real force on defense if given the time to develope

  • Johnny Cash

    What a great night to be a mountaineer!!!!!

    • WVcoal

      "I hear the train a comin'"
      "It's rolling round the bend...."

      • tw eagle

        I like hank snow a little better . . .

        "movin on "