MORGANTOWN — West Virginia presented Bob Huggins his 300th victory as coach of his alma mater and did so in a way he will remember it all the way to the College Basketball Hall of Fame.
The Mountaineers wiped out a 19-point lead in the final 11 minutes for their biggest comeback in a decade, beating Oklahoma State on its own court, 87-84.
Not that they didn't have practice for what transpired on the floor, for last time at Oklahoma on Saturday, the Mountaineers trailed by 18 at the half, fought back to tie the game before fading late.
The game was gift-wrapped for Huggins by Derek Culver, who missed a 20-20 double by a rebound, but scored 22 to go with 19 boards.
It was the perfect move for Huggins had spent the off-day working with Culver after Oklahoma had put him through the wringer, forcing turnovers from a double team every time he touched the ball and getting into his head by constantly flopping any time he was near an opponent.
That had Huggins steaming.
"They messed with his head. They messed with my head. I almost wanted to run out there," Huggins said in the pregame Mountaineer broadcast. "They were doing things we don't need in our game, frankly."
Huggins would admit he wasn't upset with Lon Kruger, the Sooners coach.
"It wasn't Lon," Huggins said. "I think it was something the players came up with on their own."
On the off-day Huggins was in Culver's head and worked out the problems.
After another sorry first half in which Culver seemed the only weapon Huggins had in his arsenal, his supporting cast stepped forward in the heroic second-half.
Miles "Deuce" McBride, who had two points at halftime, scored 19 in the second half, most of them in clutch situations, to finish with 21.
And Taz Sherman, who scored seven first half points, added 13 to reach 20 points for the game.
But the unsung hero would be junior college transfer Kedrian Johnson, who had seen limited action until Huggins had no choice but to turn him loose.
"Kedrian Johnson did phenomenal," Huggins said. "He picked up the tempo when he went in, his ball pressure was good. I think he got the other guys playing better."
Johnson had nine points, three rebounds and five assists with one turnover as he seems to have given Huggins another new look with the departure of Oscar Tshiebwe.
"We got to get him in the game a little more," Huggins said of Johnson. "It allows us to get McBride off the ball and now Taz has come on offensively. But the ball pressure he put on the guards is the big thing. We can't ask Deuce to do that with all his offense."
Johnson also turned in a key defensive play, taking a charge from Oklahoma State's one-and-done freshman Cade Cunningham to get him out of the game with his fifth foul after he had burned WVU for 25 points with nine rebounds.
WVU ran its record to 9-3 but more important to 2-2 in Big 12 play.'
Why so important so early?
The next two games are against No. 4 Texas and No. 2 Baylor.
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