MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — His offensive outpouring was so spectacular and enticing that Lamont West drew a scolding from the bench for not shooting.
He scored 17 points, most of them on five 3s in a first-half flash, that proved valuable in No. 19 West Virginia stealing a 75-73 road win at No. 17 Oklahoma.
Coming off the bench for the third time this season, West had teammates green-lighting him despite shooting 29 percent in the previous seven games. That stretch coincided with Esa Ahmad’s return from suspension.
“Lamont has been in a shooting slump lately, but he did a good job,” said guard Jevon Carter. “I told him you’re a shooter — that’s what you do. Don’t hesitate. Let it go.”
West let it go with fury during a 2:48 span in which he sank 3-pointers from five different spots. (In his previous 80 minutes of game action, West had scored 16.)
“We’ve been telling Lamont to just shoot the ball, because he was analyzing every shot,” Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins said. “So we told him, ‘Just shoot the ball, man.’ He was overthinking things.”
With 5:32 left in the game and WVU leading 66-63, West caught a pass late in the possession but didn’t take a 3-point opportunity in front of Huggins. He tried a step-in move as a defender closed and did not get off the jumper in time.
“We were all upset with him when he had a shot,” Huggins said. “He pump-faked and dribbled and we had a shot-clock violation. He’s got to shoot the ball when he’s open. Make or miss, he’s got to shoot it.”