MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — In a season of emergence for Eron Harris, no moment was grander, no game more uplifting, than the 28 points he delivered during West Virginia’s 91-86 overtime win against Oklahoma.

Four weeks later, West Virginia may need a repeat performance.

When the Mountaineers visit No. 23 Oklahoma on Wednesday night, they’ll likely be playing without Terry Henderson (who scored 17 points in 44 minutes in the first matchup) and without any wiggle room in regard to postseason hopes.

Harris, you’ll recall, was a first-half no show against the Sooners on Feb. 5. But he scored 20 points in the second half—highlighted by a clutch 3-pointer that forced overtime, where he tacked on six more points. The sophomore guard called it his biggest shot and biggest win ever.

And Sooners coach Lon Kruger called out the obvious: “We didn’t do a good job of slowing him down in the second half.”

Oklahoma (21-8, 10-6), currently in a three-way tie with Texas and Iowa State for second place in the Big 12, is gearing up for the rematch. This time the Sooners should be well rested, not having to endure the sleep-draining overnight travel woes of an Oklahoma City-to-Shreveport-to-Clarksburg-to-Newark itinerary that had them arriving in Morgantown only a few hours ahead of tipoff.

“West Virginia beat us at their place and we know how tough they are,” said Kruger, whose squad projects as a No. 4 seed in the NCAAs. “This game is huge to keep making the progress we’ve made in the last couple weeks.”

Likewise, West Virginia (16-13, 8-8) is aiming to reverse its recent regression of losing three out of four games. Upsetting Oklahoma and Kansas to close the season would resurrect slim NCAA hopes that otherwise depend solely upon WVU winning the Big 12 tournament. To that end, the Mountaineers also are aiming to maintain the league’s No. 6 seed—thereby earning a first-round by at the league tourney.

For the past three games, with Henderson sidelined the by illness, WVU has been playing with only eight scholarship bodies.

“I live with the guy and I have no idea when he’ll be back,” Harris said after Saturday’s win over TCU. “He hasn’t been able to practice or anything, so I don’t know.”

Word came late Tuesday that Henderson was at least flying with the team to Norman, though that doesn’t guarantee he’ll be cleared to play or have much stamina.

SCOUTING OKLAHOMA
Tipoff: Wednesday, 9 p.m. in Norman, Okla. (ESPNU)
Records: The Sooners (21-8, 10-6) knocked Texas out of the AP top 25 by winning 77-65 in Norman on Saturday. But OU has lost three times inside Lloyd Noble this season, including setbacks to Louisiana Tech and Texas Tech.  … The Mountaineers (16-13, 8-8) are 3-5 on the road in Big 12 action.
RPIs: Oklahoma is No. 23 and WVU is No. 88.
Coach: Lon Kruger is 56-36 in his third season with the Sooners and stands as a prime contender for Big 12 coach of the year, along with Rick Barnes at Texas. In 28 seasons as a college head coach, Kruger (535-340) has steered five programs to 14 NCAA tournament berths (K-State, Florida, Illinois, UNLV and Oklahoma).
Oklahoma’s top players: Sophomore guard Buddy Hield (16.6 points) and 6-7 swingman Cameron Clark (16.1 points) pace five Sooners who score in double figures. Gonzaga transfer Ryan Spangler (10.1 points, 9.5 rebounds) is a 6-foot-8 sophomore who has a knack for finding missed shots.  … Freshman Jordan Woodard (10.6 points) and sophomore Isaiah Cousins (10.8) are also factors for a team that in the Big 12 trails only Iowa State in 3-point tries. The Sooners have launched 627, which is 49 fewer than ISU and 19 more than West Virginia.
WVU roster notes: Big 12 player of the year candidate Juwan Staten recently became the first Mountaineer to produce 500 points, 150 assists and 150 rebounds in a season. “He’s had a phenomenal year,” said Huggins. “When you think about it, Jerry (West) didn’t do that or Hot Rod (Hundley) didn’t do that or Rod Thorn didn’t do that.” … Eron Harris (18.0 points) is third in Big 12 in 3-point accuracy (41.9 percent) and second in foul shooting (85.5 percent). … Power forward Devin Williams (8.1 points, 6.9 rebounds) produced his first double-double since Jan. 11 against outmanned TCU on Saturday. He’s still shooting only 39 percent for the season. … Remi Dibo (7.5 points) and Nate Adrian (5.7 points) must pick up the slack in Terry Henderson’s absence.
Line: Oklahoma favored by 6 1/2
Prediction: Oklahoma 80-71
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Comments

  • CaptainQ

    WVU has little chance against the Sooners tonight but could beat Kansas on Saturday IF the Jayhawks decide to rest their starters ahead of the Big 12 Tournament.

    A 17th win would secure a NIT bid for the Mountaineers.

  • wvufan75

    Aaron harris is pretty good at dunking the alley oop see tcu game?

  • duane

    Congrats Lady Mountaineers! Baylor win was best game in WVU womens BB history in my small mind. All these seniors could make some history in the NCAA tourny.

  • just me

    Lady Mountaineers Big 12 CHAMPS.

  • Aaron

    With Henderson out, Gary Brown has got to take and make some shots to relieve the pressure on Staten and Harris. Either that or Dibo and Adrian are going to have to break out of shooting slumps. WV cannot win at Oklahoma with 2 scorers and given this is Oklahoma, I doubt we will see young Mr. Connor.

  • William

    Eron Harris is only good at one thing - shooting the outside shot, but sometimes he's not very good at that!
    He is not that great of a players, because that's all he does well -
    Not a complete ball player

    • hailey

      William, you need to brush up on your english..."He is not that great of a players"

      Sometimes you are better off to let people think you are a fool than to open your mouth(keyboard) and confirm it.

      • william

        @Hailey -

        WHEN YOU CAN'T ANSWER THE CRITICISM, YOU ATTACK THE CRITIC!

        Tell me what Harris does well beside shooting from outside? I'll be waiting for your answer, but I don't think there will be one.

        • Aaron

          He moves without the ball better than anyone I've seen in the coliseum this year and he's fantastic at working picks.

          The problem is that generally the player defending the pick will move out on him, allowing the defender to cut under the pick taking his movement away.

          That is generally cured by getting the picker the ball but unfortunately none of WV's other players demand the ball the way Harris does and when they get it, are willing to shoot it.

          It's easy to play defense against to offensive threats which is why others have to step up. WV will fair a better chance at victory if Brown goes 1-8 from 3 land then they will if he goes 1-1.

          Does that answer your questions and criticism William?

          • Aaron

            You saying so does not make it so.

          • william

            He can't dribble the basketball!

        • Kathy Jeffords

          86% from the foul line, and averaging 4 attempts a game. So he does well at getting to the line.

          He also, at 6'3, averages 4 rebounds a game.

    • Betsey Kinzer

      When you have the nation's best PG beside you, you can focus solely on the one thing you do at a high level....

    • Aaron

      I doubt any coach or player from any team in America, from biddy ball in upstate Alaska to the Miami heat would agree with that assessment. Certainly Lon Kruger and Oklahoma do not agree.

      I liked your comment though as everyone needs a good laugh to begin the day.

      Thanks Tom

    • Opie

      You are good at bashing WVU. You have no other qualities in your life. Sometimes you are not that good at that. You are just not an overall good commenter.

      • Bill

        Opie, Harris really lit'em up last night. Harris is at best a spot player, but him in when we need a basket, his ballhandling skills nad his lack of defensive effort are killing this team in close games.

  • TW EAGLE

    When harris' confidence is running high , his talents can carry any team at both ends of the floor . . . when his game is 'off'' , and its' been waayy off on occasion this year , you'd think he was a reject from a grasshopper team . . . part of coach Huggins job is to see the talent in the kids & recruit them . . . and part of his job is to develop that talent . . . this being the finish of Harris' second year , I'd expect that his play would be steadier . . . lacking the stability of form & output falls directly on the shoulders of the HC . . .

    • Aaron

      About the only thing I see negative in young Eron's game is when he try's to do too much, particularly in creating his own shot. That mostly comes out of frustration but it is one aspect he's improved dramatically over the course of the season.

      In looking at Harris' stats it's hard to fathom that he's unsteady. He plays 32 minutes a game, averages 18 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and shoots 42% from 3's, 44% overall and 85% from the foul line.

      Can you give specific examples of how his game is off?

      • TW EAGLE

        there were two games in which Harris fiddled & fumbled around with the ball like he was playing drunk or suffering a bad hangover . . . more than likely he has accumulated some "baggage" that has gotten in his thought pattern and distracted his game at times . . . this is where the "HOF" should be shining , teaching his recruits how to set these distractions aside and just play ball . . .

        stats are just stats : they round off the ups & downs and POINT to "full" picture ,
        but don't give the whole story of how an athlete has contributed steadily to his teams success . . . the BEST instance is the guy who scored 48 one game and came into Morgantown and scored 4 . . . his STATS stayed high , but his play was akin to a roller coaster . . . GET IT ?

        • Aaron

          Prior to seeing him in person, I might have agreed with you. After seeing him in person, I don't.

          Probably the best thing he does is move without the ball. People don't see that on TV. He moves are calculated based on how his defender goes around a screen and in all honesty, he's probably the best player on the team in that aspect.

          He handles the ball pretty good, for the most part. He will get in trouble occasionally by trying to get splashy and at that point, the HOF'er does exactly what you would expect him to do.

          He also does a good job of creating space but when that cannot be created; he can hit a shot with a hand in his face.

          And I know what you're saying about stats but Harris' aren't like that. He's hit above 30 twice and as far as I know, only been held below 10 once but I could be wrong on that. At any rate, he's as consistent a player on this team that I've seen.

          If sticks around for 2 more years and continues to grow, he has a chance to play at the next level.

          One thing is certain; he's not "only good at one thing." That assessment displays an acute misunderstanding of the game of basketball.

        • Stan

          WOW!!! Two whole games? Geeez what an epidemic of instability.

        • Kathy Jeffords

          Monumentally wrong...

          Eron Harris has scored in double figures in all but 2 of our 29 games this season.

          Harris has rebounded for 3+ rebounds in all but 6 of our 29 games this season

          Harris' play is very consistent.....

  • mad hatter

    at the risk of sounding neg. let's just say , i think i am being realistic.

    without Henderson in the lineup, we have no chance against Okla. or Kansas.

    Miracles do happen, and that's what it will take to win either of these two games.. How profound. LOL

  • TruthTeller

    Wow!! Nothing positive is ever said about the WVU Mountaineers on this web site. Are you all Herd or Pitt homers or what?

    • richard

      Truth Teller--------you hit the nail on the head!

    • Dave

      They're more like puppets clinging on to a paycheck.

  • pc

    Huggs conveniently ignores fact that West, Thorn and Hundley's regular season schedules were normally around 22-24 games, not 31 as today.

    • TW EAGLE

      travel was also by bus then across mountain roads that didn't include any interstates . . .as far south as furman & Davidson and usually included a game at canisus or st Bonaventure . . . and a drive to happy valley in the dead of winter must have been a real highlight of the season . . . I gotta believe Mickey Furfari rode those buses too . . .
      I also recall seeing the "lakers" play in the Field House in West's first season in the pros . . .was this the last year in Minneapolis or the first in LA ?
      anyone out there recall a fan known affectionately as "ole chop 'em down" . . . he is purported to have carried an ax handle to BB games . . .

    • mntr Bob

      pc, stats show West played in 93 games in his varsity career. Go Mountaineers!