Not much went right for Eron Harris in the first half of West Virginia’s 91-86 overtime victory over No. 21 Oklahoma Wednesday night.
The sophomore guard played just eight minutes and scored two points in the first half after getting in early foul trouble.
The second half was a different story.
Harris found the shooting stroke that made him one of the Big 12’s top scorers and scored 26 points in the second half and overtime during West Virginia’s first win over a ranked opponent since it beat No. 9 Georgetown in January 2012.
Perhaps Harris’ biggest shot of the game was a 3-pointer that drew West Virginia even with Oklahoma at 81 points and sent the game into overtime.
“We ran the play for me, so the ball is in my hands … I put it in the air when I saw that the (defender’s) hand was down and it went in for me,” Harris said.
Not only was this West Virginia’s first win against a ranked opponent in two years, Harris said it was the biggest win of his career to this point.
“This is probably the first big win in my life. When I was in high school we never got that big win … I’m finally being a part of beating a ranked team in D-1 college basketball. That’s a dream for me,” Harris said.
After going 1-for-3 from the field and 0-for-2 from 3-point range in the first half, Harris finished the game 10-for-18 from the field and 6-13 from beyond the arc.
Harris got into a rhythm early in the second half and carried that momentum throughout the rest of the game.
He said when he gets in a shooting zone like he did in the second half Wednesday, he feels confident about all of the shots he takes.
“You are sure about your shots. You know that if you can get a shot off, it’s just going to go … When you get in that situation it’s all nothing,” Harris said.
Throughout this season, Harris has had a tendency to struggle in the first half but finish the game strong. He said he has a different mentality between the first and second half that affects his performance.
“Sometimes when you know the shot probably doesn’t matter as much, like in the first half, you’re just shooting,” Harris said.
“In the second half, it’s all or nothing. When you shoot it, it’s got to go, and it counts … I think that’s what makes me shoot better in the second half is that I focus on my form more.”
The victory over the Sooners was the third straight for West Virginia. The Mountaineers now find themselves with a 6-4 record in the Big 12 and sitting in a tie for third place in the conference with Oklahoma.
West Virginia will ride its winning streak into Saturday’s road matchup with No. 8 Kansas.
“We’re going to Kansas this Saturday. They’re aware of us … They still think that we’re trash. They blew us out last year at their place, but we’re ready,” Harris said.