Oklahoma was down by two with 1.8 seconds left when the Sooners inbounded the ball after a Jonathan Holton free throw. It looked like the Sooners’ No. 1 seed hopes were going down the drain.
Buddy Hield wasn’t about to let that happen without a fight.
Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield end-of-game 3-pointer that nearly was a buzz… College Basketb… ESPN 2 https://t.co/bdxQYPuq9B pic.twitter.com/VPSxaD22v5
— FanSportsClips (@FanSportsClips) March 12, 2016
Hield threw up a 50-foot jumper as the buzzer expired that miraculously went off the backboard and through the net to seemingly give Oklahoma the win.
Or did it?
The referees went to the monitor and realized that the ball just left Hield’s hand under one-tenth of a second too slowly, which led to them waving off the shot and giving West Virginia the 69-67 victory.
Just look at how close this one was.
Buddy no!!! #OKvsWVU pic.twitter.com/1iudnzVgx4
— Boston Small (@BostonSmall) March 12, 2016
Just barely, but it’s clear that the ball is still in his hand as the buzzer goes off. What a crushing way to lose after you crawl back into the game with a 17-3 run late to give yourself a chance only to see that happen.
Hield, for his part, had a rough night, only scoring six points. That was mostly due to suffocating West Virginia defense, which once again proved to be one of the most effective units in college basketball.
The Mountaineers forced 21 Sooners turnovers, a season high for Lon Kruger’s squad. It was miraculous, really, that Oklahoma even had a shot in this game given the Hield struggles and the turnovers. But they got an excellent performance from Christian James off the bench, as well as a few big shots from Isaiah Cousins to keep close. In the end though, it was a deserved victory for West Virginia.
For more on where the Sooners stand, here is Jerry Palm’s immediate reaction, where he has knocked the Sooners down to the No. 2 line. The Mountaineers now might be looking at a solid No. 2 seed as well at this point. It would be tough to imagine them dropping below the No. 3 line, too. But realistically, a win here gives them nine top-50 RPI wins and only one loss outside of the top 50 (on the road to Florida). I don’t know that a No. 1 is still on the table even if they were to beat Kansas, but overall this has been a tremendous season for West Virginia.
The Mountaineers are almost certainly a team no one wants to see in the NCAA Tournament.