Final - 2OT
  for this game

Longar helps Oklahoma outlast West Virginia in two OTs

Dec 30, 2007 - 5:59 AM CHARLESTON, West Virginia (Ticker) -- Longar Longar and Oklahoma's persistence added up to a big win.

Longar scored eight of his 22 points in the second overtime as the Sooners knocked off No. 23 West Virginia with a thrilling 88-82 victory on Saturday.

Despite the fact that it fell behind by four quick points and top freshman Blake Griffin fouled out in the opening moments of the second overtime, Oklahoma (10-3) battled back once again, going on a decisive 8-0 run behind the 6-11 Longar.

"What a great college basketball game," Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said. "West Virginia is a very good team. I think we are becoming a very good team. I am very proud of our guys."

One of just two seniors that are vital contributors to the team along with David Godbold, Longar had five points during that burst, including a three-point play for an 81-77 lead with 2:06 remaining.

West Virginia, which also scored the first five points of the first overtime before watching Oklahoma rally, managed to close within 84-82 on a layup by Joe Alexander off a missed free throw by Joe Mazzulla with 35 seconds remaining.

Yet, the Sooners' Keith Clark and Godbold sandwiched a pair of free throws around a missed 3-pointer by the Mountaineers' Alex Ruoff to seal the second straight win over a ranked foe by Oklahoma, which topped then-No. 20 Gonzaga, 72-68, in the All-College Challenge on December 20.

West Virginia (10-2) appeared to be one its way to extending its six-game winning streak in regulation after taking a 58-50 lead on Ruoff's three-point play off a steal with 6:10 remaining.

The Sooners, however, fought right back, going on a 14-2 run to move ahead, 64-60, on an alley-oop shot by Griffin off a pass by Austin Johnson with 2:19 to play in the second half.

It was one of a season-high nine assists for the junior point guard Johnson, who also scored 13 points. Backcourt mate Godbold had 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

"Their guards won the game," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. "They were able to penetrate, and then we had to play help defense that let their post players score. They weren't scoring it from the post."

Da'Sean Butler connected on a jumper for the Mountaineers and, after a defensive stop, they tied the score at 64-64 with 49 seconds left on a baseline jumper by Alexander.

Oklahoma then got a favorable call when Godbold drew a block on Alexander with 12 seconds to play despite being out of control driving down the right side of the lane.

The foul was rudely greet by the West Virginia crowd, with one individual tossing an item on the floor in protest. After Huggins condemned the action over the public address system, the unidentified man was escorted from the arena.

Godbold made both free throws, but West Virginia managed to force the first overtime when Ruoff collected an offensive rebound on the weak side on a badly missed shot by Alexander from the left and scored with just one-tenths of a second remaining.

The Mountaineers scored the first five points of that first extra period, going ahead, 71-66, on a free throw by Butler with 4:02 to play. After a layup by Godbold brought the Sooners within 73-70 with 1:20 left, Tony Crocker hit a 3-pointer with 13 ticks to play to force the second overtime.

Griffin finished with 18 points and a season-high 16 rebounds for Oklahoma, which shot 54 percent (29-of-54).

Alexander had 21 points and Ruoff 17 for West Virginia, which was outrebounded, 45-36.

The Mountaineers, who also shot just 5-of-24 on 3-pointers (21 percent), will begin Big East play at Notre Dame on Thursday.

"We will learn when we are in this situation with Big East teams," Alexander said. "That will be good for us. We have to lock down defensively one-on-one, and we did that, but it was a little difference in getting a hand in their face."