MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Juwan Staten had never been so happy after a four-point game.
By the time the All-American candidate scored his first points late in the second half, No. 16 West Virginia’s bench had already buried No. 18 Oklahoma in what became an 86-65 thrashing.
Freshman guard Jevon Carter scored 14 of his 18 points after halftime and struggling forward Nathan Adrian finished with a season-high 11 as the Mountaineers reserves outscored Oklahoma’s bench, 55-8.
Devin Williams grabbed 11 rebounds and finished with 14 points, the lone starter in double figures for West Virginia (15-2, 3-1 Big 12).
“To get this type of win, it’s indescribable,” said Staten who dished out a season-high eight assists to offset his season-low scoring output. “Oklahoma, they’ve had great wins. They were a top-20 team, it was a must-win game and we got it done.”
It was deemed a must-win because the Mountaineers were three days removed from a 74-72 home loss to Iowa State. This time West Virginia coasted to a drama-free ending, leading by 13 at halftime and allowing the Sooners within single digits for a only brief 17 seconds after that.
Buddy Hield scored 21 points to pace Oklahoma (11-5, 2-2), which committed a season-worst 22 turnovers and saw West Virginia grab 17 offensive rebounds.
“West Virginia played great and dictated every step of the way,” said Sooners coach Lon Kruger. “You have to handle their pressure and limit their offensive rebounding, and we didn’t do either. The final score is not a surprise when you don’t take care of those two things.”
“You have to handle (West Virginia’s) pressure and limit their offensive rebounding, and we didn’t do either. The final score is not a surprise when you don’t take care of those two things.” — Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger.
Staten didn’t score until 6:37 remained in the game, hitting a pair of free throws for a 70-52 lead that made West Virginia the first team to crack 69 points against Oklahoma all season.
Carter buried three 3-pointers in 85 seconds as the Mountaineers refused to let up.
“We knew we couldn’t lose two in a row at home,” said the freshman guard, who made 4 of 6 from long range.
Thanks to its hawkish full-court press, which led Division I with 12.8 steals per game, West Virginia grabbed 16 to frustrate the Sooners. Carter and guard Tarik Phillip led the defense with three each.
“This is a competitive group,” said Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins. “(Oklahoma’s) game plan was good, but our ball pressure was very good. Everybody that we brought in really added to it.”
Sooners guard Isaiah Cousins added 14 points and forward Ryan Spangler had 11 in the loss.
Big bench: West Virginia led 60-40 after an 8-0 run capped by forward Elijah Macon’s 3-point conversion on a putback-and-foul. That gave the Mountaineers’ backups 40 points to match OU’s entire output to that juncture.
Macon scored nine points in nine minutes after totaling six points in West Virginia’s previous four games.
West Virginia closed the first half on a 10-0 run to lead 45-32, building the cushion despite an 0-for-6 start by Staten. The reserves handily picked up the slack by outscoring Oklahoma’s bench 32-4 in the first 20 minutes.
Adrian’s early 3-pointer ended a personal streak of 15 consecutive long-range misses dating back nine games to Dec. 4. The slump lowered the sophomore’s 3-point rate to only 15 percent.
Backup guard Tarik Phillip’s layup scored all eight of his points in the first half, doubling his season average.
Sloppy Sooners: Oklahoma came in committing only 12 turnovers per game, yet suffered 15 during the opening half.
“We’ve got to be stronger with the ball,” Kruger said. “From watching film, (the Mountaineers) have been playing like this. They’re playing great. They were definitely the aggressor.”
Staten contributes: Though Staten finished 1-of-9 shooting, the senior’s game-management was crucial.
“He doesn’t care if he scores or not,” said Carter. “He just wants to win.”
Huggins found Staten particularly effective while playing 18 minutes during the second half: “I thought he was really good in the second half. He had a lot of assists and controlled the game.”
Huggins climbs the wins ladder: With a 755-304 record, Huggins equaled Henry Iba for 13th on the NCAA career wins list.
Defensive leaks: Oklahoma’s field-goal defense (36.3 percent) came in ranked 10th nationally before West Virginia shot 44 percent.
Eye-popping stat: Jaysean Paige finished with seven points and two steals while playing only eight minutes. In that short stint, West Virginia was plus-23.
Attendance: Tuesday’s game drew 9,196 fans, which is precisely two above the average crowd after eight Coliseum home dates.
Next: West Virginia visits No. 20 Texas (12-4, 1-2) on Saturday.