Eron Harris, Juwan Staten lead West Virginia past No. 21 Oklahoma


Things didn’t go as planned for No. 21 Oklahoma as they made their way from Norman to Morgantown for their game at West Virginia on Wednesday night. With a winter storm forcing the travel party to re-route its flight to Newark, N.J. on Tuesday, Oklahoma didn’t arrive in Morgantown until just over two hours before the scheduled tip time.

In situations like this one weary legs can be a concern, as is the fact that the players’ pre-game routine has been upset. And in the early stages of this game it was obvious that those problems impacted Oklahoma, with Lon Kruger’s team trailing by as much as 14 early in the second half. But to their credit the Sooners fought back, even holding a three-point lead late in regulation.

West Virginia’s Eron Harris would make the biggest play of regulation, hitting a three-pointer to force overtime. From there the Mountaineers limited Oklahoma to just five points in the extra session, earning a 91-86 overtime victory that Bob Huggins’ team desperately needed.

Harris scored 28 points (26 after halftime) and Juwan Staten added 20, ten rebounds and six assists, with the difference in points from beyond the arc making the difference in the end. West Virginia hit 11 of their 32 attempts on the night, and while that’s too many attempts for this team to be at their best offensively the Mountaineers outscored Oklahoma 33-15 from beyond the arc. Oklahoma attempted 19 three-pointers on the night, with Buddy Hield and Tyler Neal accounting for all five makes.

Isaiah Cousins struggled offensively, shooting just 3-for-13 from the field, and Cameron Clark wasn’t much better (4-for-12). One of Oklahoma’s strengths this season has been their offensive balance, with five players entering the game scoring in double figures. Neal helped pick up the slack some with his 16-point night, but the tough nights endured by Clark and Cousins proved to be too much to overcome.

With home games against Baylor and Texas Tech next on the schedule Oklahoma should be fine. Wednesday’s result is more about a West Virginia team that, while they didn’t pick up any major wins in non-conference play, has some quality opportunities in front of them. West Virginia’s next three games are against Kansas (road), Iowa State (home) and Texas (road), and there are two ways in which they can look at those contests: either as a challenge, or as an opportunity.

Those are difficult games, but they also provide the Mountaineers with shots at quality wins they need for their resume. If West Virginia can execute offensively and take quality shots, they can take advantage of the opportunities ahead of them.

Utah State denies transfer David Collette a release

David Collette Goodluck Okonoboh
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Utah State has denied former forward David Collette a release, saying that his decision to leave the program two days before the start of the season left them without an adequate way to replace last season’s second-leading scorer and was unduly influenced by tampering from other coaching staffs.

“I think there were a lot of factors in play that, unfortunately, have become a trend in college basketball of schools poaching other schools’ players,” head coach Tim Duryea said in a Nov. 11th release announcing the transfer. “I don’t feel good and don’t like how things transpired.”

But that’s not how Collette, who averaged 12.8 points as a redshirt freshman, said things went down. He says he left the team because he and Duryea did not get along. Duryea was a longtime assistant for former head coach Stew Morrill.

The allegations Collette has made range from worrisome to embarrassingly petty. He told Yahoo! Sports and ESPN that the team was told not to tell anyone about a fight in practice, that the school immediately pulled all his athletic aid and that they went as far as to change his measurements on the team site from 6-foot-10, 235 pounds to 6-foot-8, 220 pounds.

Now trying to keep a practice fight off the media’s radar isn’t a huge issue; they happen more than you think and are a bigger deal as a headline than in the locker room. And if Collette is no longer on the team, he is no longer doing the work required to get that aid. Nothing wrong with that, either.

But changing what he’s listed at on the team site? Refusing to release, which prohibits him from being recruited by other coaching staffs and will force him to pay his own way at his new school for two semesters?

Bitter, petty and unnecessary.

This story is now a headline on three of the biggest sports websites. Pretty soon Jay Bilas will be railing against it on twitter, and probably on a broadcast, too; Utah State plays Duke on Sunday on ESPNU.

This is going to be a wave of negative publicity for a Utah State program that A) doesn’t make many national headlines, and B) might actually be pretty good this year.

Is that really worth getting revenge on some college sophomore that doesn’t like playing for you?

Labissiere scores 16 as top-ranked Kentucky beats BU 82-62

Eric Johnson, Isaiah Briscoe
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Freshman center Skal Labissiere scored 16 points to lead top-ranked Kentucky past Boston University 82-62 on Tuesday night.

The Wildcats (5-0) used a big second half to overcome Boston U. in their season debut at No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll. One day after taking over the top spot, Kentucky struggled to put away the Terriers early but outscored them 42-29 in the second half.

Labissiere finished 7 of 13 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds. Tyler Ulis added 15 points, and Alex Poythress had 14 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for his second straight double-double.

Jamal Murray scored 12 points and Isaiah Briscoe had 11. Kentucky, which spent all of last season ranked No. 1, scored 58 points in the paint and closed with a 22-9 run.

Boston University (2-3) got 15 points from John Papale. Nathan Dieudonne and Kyle Foreman scored 11 apiece.

The Wildcats raced out to a 10-0 lead 3 minutes into the game, but Boston University settled down after making its first basket and kept the score close in the first half by hitting five shots from long range.

The Terriers led 34-33 with 2 minutes remaining in the first half, but the Wildcats scored the last six points of the period to regain the lead.

Labissiere paced the Wildcats with 11 points in the first half, followed by Murray with 10.


Kentucky: The Wildcats improved to 216-28 as the top-ranked team in the country and have won 61 of their last 64 games while holding the top spot. Under coach John Calipari, Kentucky is 63-5 as the top-ranked team in the AP poll.

Boston University: The Terriers fell to 0-5 against Kentucky. … Boston University missed its first four shots and didn’t score its first basket until the 16:55 mark of the first half. … Dieudonne, a graduate of Louisville Trinity, was Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball in 2012.


Kentucky plays Friday against South Florida at the Hoophall Miami Invitational.

Boston University plays Saturday at Binghamton.