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

  • wvufan 75

    I really believe the tourney is a real possibility now! One big win after another, 3 in a row against top 55 rpi I am a believer !!!!

  • Jack

    WVU needs to get rid of the gun. It promotes violence and right wingers that cling to their bibles and guns to commit acts of terror.

  • Mark

    I know I work this to death, but I just don't understand why people buy seats (lots of them) in the lower level, and then don't show up for the game! Someone help me out on this. Please.

  • Rich

    Big win! Thought for sure we were going to let it slip away, credit the kids resolve and as Huggs said resiliency. We need 3 more wins to clinch a .500 record in Big 12 play. I can't see us getting a game from Kansas, they are a match-up nightmare with a potential 4 1st round daft picks in their line-up. We've beaten Baylor and TCU and have both of them at home, I think they are "must" wins. 2 games with Iowa St, we need to win 1. Oklahoma and Texas on road, Texas is bad match-up for us, I don't see us winning that one. I think we can play with OU. Best case scenario, 10-8 in Big 12. Whatta ya think?

  • John

    It was a great win and they all look much improved. Harris needs to follow his shots. There were several times that he could have gotten his own rebound if he would have just followed his shot. He shoots and starts down the floor. Also, why doesn't someone tell Williams to not bring the ball down to his knees when he is inside?

  • Jon

    Where are you now William????
    I’m sure you will be here after a loss. Thanks you for not posting your classless BS on here anymore. On a happier note for you, Pitt and Marshall won. I’m sure you feel great about that. Again, thanks for staying in your hole.

  • Jon

    Where are you now William????
    I’m sure you will be here after a loss. Thanks you for not posting your classless BS on here anymore. On a happier note for you, Pitt and Marshall won. I’m sure you feel great about that

  • Country Roads

    Well - Well . I see someone else is using my name Country Roads, that's okay nothing I could do about that, glad they like the name but just remember if they say negative things about West Virginia coaching players and the university is not this Country Roads . I am a Mountaineer inside and out. I am not a negative person.

  • OKANYDAY

    Great win for WVU. The team showed a lot of poise, patience and desire to win this important home game. Sorry I could not see it in person, but weather problems prevailed. Go Eeers !

  • 5toldU1s

    I love Watkins too and thing with more seasoning he will be a solid rebounder. However right now it is a tie among Williams, Debo, Adrian and Watkins who is the rawest. If you compare Watkins as a senior with Rodman, you are saying that Brandon will become the greatest rebounder of ALL TIME. A tall order. Just goes to show you can be as crazy as a loon and still be a great rebounder!

    • Dave

      I think Brandon Watkins is going to be a great player for WVU. He played a solid game against Oklahoma. He just needs more experience and put on some weight and muscle.

  • Charleston

    We have a very difficult stretch of games coming up: @Kansas, ISU, @Texas. Keep up the good work team, it's only going to get tougher. Let's go EERs!

  • Dave

    It's so nice to come here and see all the great posts without having to sift through the trash. Bob Huggins may be doing one of his best ever coaching jobs. If we keep the train rolling we may get that NCAA bid and HuggyBear may be looking at BIG12 Coach of the Year.
    Thanks for fixin' it Huggs. Thank you team for listening to and doing what a HOF coach is teaching and asking you to do to win.
    I'm Lovin' It !!!!!!!!!

  • joe

    Enter All the mountaineer band wagon fans. Its funny how they bash wvu when they are losing "time to fire the coaches". But when they win the bandwagon fans "oh the coach fixed the problems"Just either go be a fan of another team. A relationship between a sports team and a fan is like a marriage. You take the good with the bad. As for me whether wvu gos winless or wins 50% or more I root for them period.

  • Mountaineer Fanatic

    What a great game. Lets Gooooooo.

  • cutty77

    7 games left. WVU has to win everyone at home,except maybe one.Then steal one on the road. The Big 12 has the highest RPI in the land. If we can finish in the Top 4 in The Big 12 we will get in The NCAA's. The NCAA likes Teams winning at the end of season.This Team has stuck it out so far,and you can see their will to win. He won't get it but Staten should get Big 12 player of the year. He has put this Team on his Back and carried them most of the year. He is in Great Shape to play as many minutes as he has,he never comes off the court it seems.