MORGANTOWN (AP) — West Virginia coach Bob Huggins is still trying to figure out how to prevent his team from playing such sloppy basketball.
The No. 10 Mountaineers shot poorly, were manhandled inside and committed a dozen turnovers in a 76-62 loss to No. 3 Oklahoma on Saturday.
“We’ve got to stop turning the ball over, and I know that’s not going to happen,” Huggins said. “We haven’t stopped turning it over in practice, so the reality is we probably aren’t going to stop turning it over in the game. Some of them, though, we throw the ball where there’s nobody even around to throw it to.”
West Virginia (20-7, 9-5 Big 12) shot 33 percent (21 of 63) from the floor, and a team that usually dominates the boards was outrebounded 48-37.
“We generally hold our own on the glass,” Huggins said. “It’s not like we didn’t focus on it or prepare. We just didn’t do it today.”
Buddy Hield scored 29 points to lead the Sooners (21-5, 9-5), who stayed close in the Big 12 race, tying the Mountaineers and Baylor for second place behind Kansas. The Sooners were coming off back-to-back losses to Kansas and Texas Tech and three losses in four games after spending three weeks at No. 1.
In a second half of several scoring swings, Hield helped put Oklahoma in control. He capped a 9-0 run with a 3-pointer to put the Sooners ahead 61-52 with 5:22 left, silencing the home crowd.
“For the past few weeks we’ve been struggling,” Hield said. “Coach (Lon Kruger) got on to us. Everybody wanted to come to West Virginia and prove something.”
Jaysean Paige scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half for West Virginia, but the Mountaineers couldn’t answer with their own decisive run.
Hield often got ahead of West Virginia’s defense for layups, and nifty passing in the halfcourt enabled him to get open outside for shots. He made five 3-pointers to give him 109 this season, breaking the school record of 105 set by Nate Erdmann in 1997.
Isaiah Cousins added 12 points and Jordan Woodard had 11 for the Sooners.
Tarik Phillip led West Virginia with 17 points. The Mountaineers, who were alone in first place two weeks ago, have lost three of four.
After leading only briefly in the first half, West Virginia scored 11 points in the first 2 minutes of the second half to grab the lead, only to see the Sooners go on a 17-4 run.
West Virginia put together its final burst behind Paige, who made four free throws, a fadeaway jumper and a fast-break layup to knot the score at 52-all with 7:48 left.
But the Mountaineers went nearly 4 minutes until their next basket.
“They made more shots than we made,” Huggins said. “They’ve got Buddy Hield and we don’t.”
Oklahoma: The Sooners had nine blocked shots. They improved to 6-3 this season against ranked teams. … Oklahoma swept the regular-season series after beating the Mountaineers 70-68 on Jan. 16 at home.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers forced nine turnovers, about half their season average of more than 18 per game.
West Virginia guard Daxter Miles Jr. missed his second straight game with a strained right hamstring. He is day to day. Teyvon Myers again started in Miles’ place. Huggins said after the game he had no timetable on Miles’ return.
A statue of “Hot Rod” Hundley was unveiled outside West Virginia’s arena before the game near a statue of another former Mountaineers great, Jerry West. Hundley averaged 24.5 points per game at WVU from 1955-57. A former NBA player who broadcast Jazz games in New Orleans and Utah for 35 years, Hundley died last March at age 80.
Oklahoma: Hosts Oklahoma State on Wednesday.
West Virginia: Hosts No. 13 Iowa State on Monday.