CLEVELAND – In their biggest game of the season, the No. 22 West Virginia Mountaineers made a statement against the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes in Cleveland on Sunday.
It was the first time this season that West Virginia faced off against a ranked opponent and the start of a tough slate of games away from WVU Coliseum.
The Mountaineers proved they are for real this season defeating the Buckeyes 65-59.
It was the biggest upset for the Mountaineers since defeating No. 1 Baylor and No. 2 Kansas in 2017 and the biggest upset away from the WVU Coliseum since defeating No. 4 Pitt at Madison Square Garden in 2009.
The defenses commanded Sunday’s game as both teams entered the game sporting top-10 opponent field goal percentages.
The Buckeyes entered the game shooting 49.1% from the floor and 40.1% from three. The Mountaineers held them to 31.3% (15 of 48) form the floor and 33.3% (8 of 24) from three.
West Virginia entered the game shooting 44% from the floor and 31.1% from three. Ohio State held WVU to 40.7% shooting, but the Mountaineers made up for it with one of their best three-point shooting efforts of the season. WVU connected on 8 of 20 shots from deep.
WVU’s scoring effort was led by freshman guard Miles McBride, who shot 6 of 12 from the floor and scored a team-high 21 points, a career high. McBride’s 10 first-half points helped WVU keep close with Ohio State as the Buckeyes led 37-31 at the half.
West Virginia had several starters in foul trouble in the first half of the game as both big men, Oscar Tshiebwe and Derek Culver, were called for three first-half fouls and Jermaine Haley and Emmitt Matthews Jr. each had two.
The action started slowly in the second half as both teams were only able to muster three points before the first media timeout. Tshiebwe picked up his fourth foul of the game on the Buckeyes’ first possession of the half and quickly came out of the game in favor of Gabe Osabuohein.
After the media timeout, WVU went on the run it had been needing all game. Osabuohein made his first basket of the game and McBride made a three and a jumper to give WVU a 41-40 lead.
The lead switched back and forth between the teams for the rest of the game as neither team was able to amass more than a five-point lead until WVU pulled ahead by seven with less than a minute to play.
The win is an important one for WVU as the team now heads on the road to face No. 5 Kansas on Jan. 4.