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March 6, 2014

Clark nets double-double in LNC finale

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Senior Cameron Clark walked off the court at Lloyd Noble to raucous applause following his final regular season home game. A few moments later, the final buzzer sounded.

No. 23 Oklahoma defeated West Virginia 72-62 on Wednesday night in the Sooners' penultimate regular season game of the year.

Clark scored 19 points and grabbed 10 boards in the game. He led the Sooners in both categories.


"It was good. We got the win, and that's all I was really focused on," Clark said. "My teammates and coaches told me to go out there and be aggressive. That's what I did."

Sophomores Buddy Hield (13) and Je'lon Hornbeak (11) each scored in double figures. But it was Clark who brought them through.

"It was great to see Cam finish like he did," said OU coach Lon Kruger. "What a great career, and to have him have a double-double in his last home game and make big shots when we needed them very badly, good memories there."

The victory ties OU with Texas for second place in the Big 12, but the win didn't always look like a given.

West Virginia scored with the Sooners through the first 10 minutes of the game, and point guard Juwan Staten looked like he couldn't miss.

Then the Mountaineers did the Sooners a favor. They got into foul trouble.

The Sooners went into the bonus with 9:24 left in the first half. With that in its back pocket, OU began attacking the basket and mounted a 10-0 scoring run to give itself some breathing room.

Oklahoma headed toward the locker room at halftime with a 33-28 lead by WVU's good graces. 17 of the Sooners 29 shots were 3-pointers, and they only converted five of them in the half.

Eight of the Sooners possessions ended in turnovers, but Clark wasn't responsible for any of them in the half. But he can take full credit for getting the OU offense going.

Seven of Oklahoma's first 10 points came from Clark. He led the Sooners in scoring in the first half with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting, including 2-of-4 treys.

Oklahoma also made off with 23 boards in the half -- five more than the Mountaineers -- got to the free throw line nine times. WVU didn't get to the foul line at all in the first half.

The Mountaineers' only saving grace in the half was Staten. He hit 8-of-15 shot attempts in the first half for 16 points -- or nearly have WVU's points.

Coming out of the locker, OU needed to contain Staten and shooting guard Eron Harris who played just 10 minutes in the first half after picking up two fouls early.

The Sooners managed to do that -- and then some. Staten scored eight points in the second half. He finished with a game-high 24 points.

Harris couldn't seem to get started, even in the second half. He finished with one of his worst scoring days of the season -- just five points on 2-of-9 shooting.

Harris came into Lloyd Noble averaging 18 points per game. But that didn't stop the Mountaineers from taking a momentary lead midway through the second half.

With 11:37 left to play, they held a 43-40 advantage. Then Hield found his shooting touch.

After missing all four of his shot attempts in the first half, he hit four of his next eight shots with all four of those coming from beyond the arc.

"The coaching staff and the players keep on telling me to shoot it," Hield said. "It helps my confidence level when they trust me to shoot the basketball. I just got a good look, and I was able to knock it down. I just got in a rhythm after that."

The Sooners were able to ride those points into a 60-53 lead with 4:25 left in the game after sophomore Isaiah Cousins drained a jumper. West Virginia couldn't find a way to climb back into the game or hit shots from the charity stripe.

According to kenpom.com, the West Virginia scores about 22 percent of its points from the free throw line. The Mountaineers finished the game 4-for-10 from the foul line.

It's tough to win games in the Big 12 when you don't get to the foul line, let alone make foul shots. That was certainly the case for the Mountaineers.

Meanwhile, the Sooners still have a game to play to try to lock up the No. 2 seed in next week's Big 12 tourney.

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