MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Despite missing two of their best players in Cade Cunningham and Isaac Likekele, No. 17 Oklahoma State upset No. 6 West Virginia, 85-80, in the 2020-21 regular-season finale Saturday afternoon.
Oklahoma State (18-7, 11-7 Big 12) out-shot West Virginia (18-8, 11-6) 57.9% to 41.7% in the game, shooting 64.3% in the second half alone.
West Virginia started the game poorly, starting the game 2 for 10 from the floor. The Mountaineers’ first made field goal did not come until Emmitt Matthews Jr. made a contested 3-pointer more than three minutes into the game. Meanwhile, the Cowboys maintained a shooting percentage above 60% for much of the first half. OSU’s finished the half shooting 51.7% after making three of their final 10 shots.
Senior Taz Sherman kept the Mountaineers afloat in the first half, scoring a team-high 14 points with three 3-pointers. WVU’s lead only grew as large as five in the first half, as OSU kept it a one-score game for much of the period.
WVU continued to hold a 3-4 point lead for the first part of the second half until the Cowboys put together a 12 to 1 run midway through. WVU sophomore Miles “Deuce” McBride made a layup with 17:20 left and then the Mountaineers went on a five-minute shooting drought. Oklahoma State was doing whatever it wanted on offense as the Cowboys scored three straight layups and a dunk to take a 54-49 lead before the Mountaineers’ next make.
Oklahoma State would hold onto its precarious edge for more than eight minutes. Over that stretch, the Cowboys never lost the lead but also never led by more than one score. With 5:25 left, West Virginia finally re-tied the game at 67-67 on a pair of free throws by McBride and then took its first lead in more than 10 minutes, 71-70, on free throws by Kedrian Johnson with four minutes left to play.
There were four ties and four lead changes in the final four minutes of play but OSU made 4 of its final 5 shots and WVU made just 2 of its final 7 as the Cowboys pulled out the five-point upset.
Sherman finished as WVU’s leading scorer with 20 points on 7 of 15 shooting. Culver (14), McBride (12) and Matthews (11) all finished with double-digit points. WVU was whistled for 18 personal fouls and turned the ball over 12 times in the loss.
Avery Anderson III Ied the Cowboys with 31 points as the Boone brothers, Kalib (12) and Keylan (11) both finished in double figures. OSU out-rebounded WVU 38-29 and shot a combined 24 of 34 on layups and dunks.
With the regular season over, West Virginia will finish as either a three- or four-seed in next week’s Big 12 Conference Tournament. The Mountaineers’ final seeding will be decided by the winner of the TCU-Texas game tomorrow.
With a dunk early in the second half, Culver became the 54th Mountaineer to score 1,000 career points. Culver, a third-year starter from Youngstown, Ohio, finished the game with 14 points, giving him 1,006 in his career. Sherman and fellow senior Gabe Osabuohien were honored prior to the start of the game.