ShareThis Page
WVU

Overturned half-court shot gives WVU pulse-pounding win over Oklahoma

| Saturday, March 12, 2016, 12:23 a.m.
West Virginia guard Jevon Carter (2) celebrates after the Mountaineers defeated Oklahoma in a Big 12 Tournament semifinal Friday, March 11, 2016.
Getty Images
West Virginia's Jaysean Paige makes a 3-pointer with 11.2 second left in the game against Oklahoma in the second half of their Big 12 Tournament semifinals game Friday, March 11, 2016, in Kansas City, Mo.
Getty Images
West Virginia's Brandon Watkins (20) and Jevon Carter wait as officials review a final shot by Oklahoma's Buddy Hield in the second half during the Big 12 Tournament semifinals on Friday, March 11, 2016, in Kansas City Mo.
Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (right) and West Virginia forward Elijah Macon (left) vie for a rebound during the second half of their Big 12 Tournament semifinals game Friday, March 11, 2016, in Kansas City, Mo.
Getty Images
West Virginia's Daxter Miles Jr. leaps between Oklahoma's Isaiah Cousins (11) and Dante Buford (21) as he lays the ball up in the first half during the Big 12 Tournament semifinals Friday, March 11, 2016, in Kansas City, Mo.
Getty Images
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins celebrates with Jevon Carter after the Mountaineers defeated Oklahoma in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals on Friday, March 11, 2016, in Kansas City, Mo.
Getty Images
West Virginia's Daxter Miles Jr. takes a shot against Oklahoma's Khadeem Lattin in the first half during the Big 12 Tournament semifinals Friday, March 11, 2016, in Kansas City, Mo.
Getty Images
Oklahoma's Buddy Hield celebrates with fans after he thought he made the winning basket from half-court against the West Virginia during the Big !2 Tournament semifinals Friday, March 11, 2016 in Kansas City, Mo. After review the shot was overturned, and West Virginia won 69-67.
Getty Images
Oklahoma's Buddy Hield shoots against West Virginia's Nathan Adrian in the second half of their Big 12 Tournament semifinals game Friday, March 11, 2016, in Kansas City, Mo.
West Virginia forward Elijah Macon (45) and guard Tarik Phillip (center) and Oklahoma forward Dante Buford (21) battle for a rebound during the first half during the Big 12 Tournament semifinals Friday, March 11, 2016, in Kansas City, Mo.
Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) knocks the ball away from West Virginia guard Jevon Carter (2) during the first half of the Big 12 Tournament semifinals Friday, March 11, 2016, in Kansas City, Mo.
West Virginia forward Elijah Macon (45) and Oklahoma forward Dante Buford (21) try for a rebound during the first half of the Big 12 Tournament semifinals Friday, March 11, 2016, in Kansas City, Mo.
Getty Images
West Virginia's Tarik Phillip celebrates a teammate's basket against Oklahoma in the first half during the Big 12 Tournament semifinals Friday, March 11, 2016, in Kansas City, Mo.
Getty Images
Oklahoma's Buddy Hield shoots against West Virginia's Nathan Adrian in the second half of their Big 12 Tournament semifinals game Friday, March 11, 2016, in Kansas City, Mo.
Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) looks for a teammate to pass to while covered by West Virginia guard Tarik Phillip (12) during the first half of the Big 12 Tournament semifinals Friday, March 11, 2016, in Kansas City, Mo.
Getty Images
West Virginia's Jaysean Paige (5) collides with teammate Jonathan Holton as the takes a shot in the first half during the Big 12 Tournament semifinals Friday, March 11, 2016, in Kansas City, Mo.
Getty Images
West Virginia's Jonathan Holton drives to the basket against Oklahoma's Dante Buford in the first half during the Big 12 Tournament semifinals Friday, March 11, 2016, in Kansas City, Mo.
Getty Images
West Virginia's Daxter Miles Jr. takes a shot against Oklahoma's Khadeem Lattin in the first half during the Big 12 Tournament semifinals Friday, March 11, 2016, in Kansas City, Mo.
Getty Images
Oklahoma's Ryan Spangler looks to shoot against West Virginia's Jonathan Holton in the second half of their Big 12 Tournament semifinals game Friday, March 11, 2016, in Kansas City, Mo.

For about 30 minutes, Friday night's Big 12 Tournament semifinal looked like one of the purest expressions yet of the basketball ethos that is “Press Virginia.”

But things are usually never that easy, and the Mountaineers endured one of the wildest finishes in recent memory to claim a 69-67 semifinal win over No. 6 Oklahoma (25-7).

No. 9 West Virginia (26-7) will play No. 1 Kansas in the Mountaineers' first Big 12 Tournament final at 6 p.m. Saturday.

West Virginia's emotions went wildly up, then wildly down, then wildly up again in the span of a few minutes.

With his team down one point with no timeouts and time dwindling, WVU guard Jaysean Paige made a go-ahead, pull-up jumper with 11 seconds left.

“I just felt like I had to step up and try to make a play for my team,” Paige said.

For a moment, at least, it looked like that shot would not matter.

With time expiring, Oklahoma star Buddy Hield banked in a half-court, game-winning shot, sending the Wooden Award candidate leaping into the stands in celebration.

“It was like a movie,” point guard Jevon Carter said. “You watch a movie. They have the camera on the main character the whole time. You know it's going to be a tough game in the championship game. The main character hits a tough shot; they win. It was like, ‘Man, did that really just happen?' ”

But once Hield stepped back onto the court, he discovered the officials were reviewing the shot. They found that the ball left Hield's fingertips a fraction of a second too late. Game over: West Virginia survives.

West Virginia forced 21 turnovers, and Carter scored 26 points.

Hield, meanwhile, had his most ineffective offensive games of the season — six points on 1-of-8 shooting.

The Big 12's leading scorer, who tallied 39 points in Oklahoma's quarterfinal win over Iowa State on Thursday, did not score against West Virginia until it was almost halftime. The Mountaineers' defense denied him the ball most of the game.

“I think we got very physical with him,” Carter said. “We made him not want the ball and wore him down. He played a lot of minutes. So we kept a fresh guy on him and kept wearing him down, kept making him take tough shots, and all we have to do is just rebound it.”

In a sloppy first half reminiscent of West Virginia's quarterfinal win over TCU, Oklahoma and West Virginia combined for 18 turnovers, and WVU shot just 33 percent from the field. The Mountaineers seemingly could not make a shot unless it was from beyond the 3-point arc. They made 6 of 11 on 3s but just 5 of 22 inside the arc.

A night after making three 3-pointers against TCU, Carter continued his hot shooting, hitting his first four long-range tries in the first half.

Carter didn't stop there, nailing his first two 3-pointers of the second half, part of an 8-0 run to put the Mountaineers up eight.

WVU's momentum disappeared quickly as Oklahoma reeled off a 12-0 run down the stretch, capped off by a Christian James 3-pointer to give the Sooners their first lead since the first half and set up the heart-stopping finish.

Tarik Phillip briefly gave West Virginia the lead back with layup, but Isaiah Cousins immediately responded with a go-ahead 3-pointer before Paige made the winning shot.

David Statman is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.