MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – Well, it’s safe to say that West Virginia’s defense showed up on Tuesday night against Oklahoma State, as the Mountaineers won their second Big 12 Conference game, 70-60. WVU forced the Cowboys to turn over the ball 17 times.
The West Virginia (13-2, 2-1 Big 12) defense gave the Cowboys (8-6, 1-2 Big 12) trouble all night, especially from the perimeter. Oklahoma State shot 40 percent from the field and shot 26 percent (5-of-19) from three.
WVU had 12 steals and six blocks as a team.
Gabe Osabuohien and the word, “defense” just go together perfectly. It wouldn’t be a great defensive effort from the Mountaineers without Osabuohien’s name being mentioned. Osabuohien was playing like a magician. Osabuohien is known for his hustle and drawing charges, which he did do, but the fifth-year senior was a threat when driving in the paint. Osabuohien finished with 12 points, which was a season-high for the Canadian native. Osabuohien also had eight rebounds, two steals and a block.
Throughout the season, this West Virginia team has been an awful free-throw shooting team. Coming into Tuesday night, the Mountaineers were 345th in the country in free-throw shooting, with a 63.7 percentage. As a team, WVU shot an exceptional 21-of-22 from the free-throw line. At one point, West Virginia was a perfect 13-of-13 from the line.
Taz Sherman found a cutting Jalen Bridges for an and-one layup right at the 4-minute media timeout in the first half. Bridges’ basket gave West Virginia a double-digit lead. The sophomore forward shot the ball 14 times, which is a little surprising. Bridges finished with 22 points, tying his career-high. Bridges shot a perfect 10-of-10 from the line.
The Mountaineers started the game shooting 4-of-19 from the field. They were able to lead the game early on as Oklahoma State turned the ball over five times in the first few minutes.
A three by Sherman in the first half gave WVU a 15-12 lead, which they never gave up for the remainder of the game.
With limited practice due to his right ankle, guard Malik Curry still was able to produce in Tuesday’s game. Curry finished with five points, playing 26 minutes.
WVU’s notable scorers were Bridges (22), Sherman (13), McNeil (12) and Osabuohien (12).
West Virginia will have a few days off until they travel to Lawrence, KS, to take on No. 9 Kansas, on Saturday. The Mountaineers and Jayhawks are set to tip off at 2 p.m. on CBS.