|Field Goal %||43.9||51.1|
|Three Point %||36.4||35.3|
|Free Throw %||84.4||69.4|
The West Virginia Mountaineers (12-1) went into Stillwater Oklahoma, and beat the Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-3), 85-79, in the first Big XII game of the season.
This is a good win, against a team that is currently receiving votes in the AP (32nd) and Coaches Poll (40th). “They play hard, they really play hard, and conceptionally they do really good stuff.” said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins.
The Cowboys offense was efficient. Oklahoma state had great ball movement and good off the ball screens to get easy buckets around the rim, getting 20 of their 46 points in the paint first half, in the paint.
West Virginia’ best offense was from their defense, getting 15 points off 12 forced turnovers and 7 steals, but was struggling in their half court sets, turning the ball over themselves 9 times.
The Mountaineers jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, and would hold a 10-6 lead in the first 5 minutes of the game, till a 7-0 run by the Cowboys would put them out front 13-10.
West Virginia would fall behind by as many as 9 points with 10 minutes to play in the first half, until they would fight their way back to take a 30-28 lead at the 6:30 mark.
Oklahoma state would finish off the half, outscoring the Mountaineers 18-9, to take a 7-point lead into halftime 46-39, on 63.6% (14-22) shooting and 50% (4-8) from three.
As the #2 free throw shooting team in the country (80.5%), they didn’t disappoint going 14-17 (82.4%).
Tavarius Shine led all scorers with 15 points, while Lamont West (9) and Beetle Bolden (8) led the Mountaineers. Carter (7) and Miles Jr (6) combined for 13 points.
There were some defensive adjustments in the second half, and the Mountaineers slowed down the Oklahoma State offense, holding them to 33 points, 10-25 (40.0%) shooting and 2-9 (22,2%) from behind the arc.
The also out rebounded the Cowboys in the second half 22-12. “I gave them a little encouragement at halftime. I strongly encouraged them at halftime.” said Huggins.
He got their attention throughout the second half. The Mountaineers scored on every possession in the second half after the timeout.
The Mountaineers were efficient on the offensive end of the floor, and Teddy Allen and Sagaba Konate would not be stopped, combining for 24 of West Virginia’s 46 points in the second half. “We finally got into offense, and once we got into offense, then we did a much better job. Teddy did a good job. Teddy made some good cuts and good reads.” Said Huggins.
As a team they would shoot 52.0% (13-25) from the field, 1-8 from three, and 90.5% (19-21) from the free throw line, in the second half.
West Virginia would take their first lead in the second half on an 11-2 run, in 3:08 of game time, 6 of those points coming from Sagaba Konate, but the Cowboys would respond with a three to retake the lead 63-62, with 9:46 left to play.
The Mountaineers would go on a quick 5-0 run to regain, and never lose the lead.
Jevon Carter arguably had one of his worst games of his career, “He didn’t play very well” said Huggins, “Everybody is gonna have a bad once in a while.” continued Huggins.
Carter had a career high 8 turnovers, but made two critical plays in the second half, to help the Mountaineers get the win. He made a steal that started the streak of 8 straight points, during the 11-2 run, to give the Mountaineers the lead. “He does things. He gets 5 steals for us, he kind of ignites things in the second half with that steal, he rebounds the ball, and goes and makes free throws at the end of the game, even though he really wasn’t playing particularly vey well. That’s JC, that’s what he does.” Said Huggins.
Carter also hit a three with just under 4 minutes to play to extend the Mountaineer lead to 7.
In the Final 3:11 of the game, West Virginia would go 9-10 (Konate 3-4, Carter 2-2, Harris 2-2, Bolden 2-2) from the free throw line, to seal the win, and 1-3 from the field.
They continued to rely on their high-pressure defense to create points. They ended the game getting 25 points off 21 turnovers, while getting into rhythm offensively.
Oklahoma State started off the game hot and West Virginia never panicked. They adjusted and continued to grind the game out, coming away with a tough conference road win.
Huggins put them into position to make plays, and the players executed.
West Virginia heads to Manhattan, Kansas next to play the Kansas State Wildcats, Tuesday at 5pm est.