The No. 14 Cowboys earned a 73-57 win at the WVU Coliseum on Saturday afternoon, pulling away early in the second half with a 13-2 run that gave OSU a 55-43 lead and all the momentum.
West Virginia (13-14, 6-8 Big 12) failed to take care of the ball again. Coach Bob Huggins had previously said the most significant problem in his team’s first loss to OSU was that players “threw the ball away.”
That was certainly true when it counted most on Saturday. The Mountaineers committed only six turnovers in the first half, but needed only 10:16 to commit their first eight of the second half.
"You can't win many games not rebounding," coach Bob Huggins said. "You can't win many games throwing the ball to them. There is a myriad of things we could name that you can't win doing."
Oklahoma State (20-6, 10-4) took advantage of all those Mountaineer miscues. After a Matt Humphrey 3-pointer got WVU back within 45-41, the Cowboys pulled away easily.
Player of the Game
It started with Marcus Smart, the OSU star guard -- who had only played three minutes in the first half before picking up three fouls -- scoring five points in a row. He scored while being fouled and made the bonus free throw for the first three, then added a layup in transition.
After a particularly ugly Mountaineer turnover in the backcourt, Markel Brown finished with a highlight-worthy dunk. Smart later added a transition layup, and by the time Brian Williams knocked down a 3-pointer a few trips later, the visitors had a 58-43 lead.
West Virginia never mounted a serious challenge, and the vast majority of what had already been a relatively small crowd of 10,038 had sought out the exits by the under-4:00 media timeout.
“I have always taken a lot of pride in the fact that I can get guys to play hard and I can get guys to compete,” Huggins said. "People didn't like playing against us because we played so hard and we competed so hard ... For some reason, I haven't been able to reach these guys, which is my fault. I should have been able to find a way to reach them."
It didn’t look like that would be the way this game went early. Much like the first game between the two teams at Gallagher-Iba Arena on Jan. 26, WVU came out of the gates strong.
It rode the momentum of three quick fouls on Smart and some strong early shooting to take a 12-5 lead on a floater from guard Jabarie Hinds. But much like that first game, a long cold spell followed. The Mountaineers went the next 8:05 of play without a field goal, and by the time that streak ended on a bucket by Gary Browne, the Cowboys had actually come all the way back to take the lead.
It was ultimately a 19-4 run for Oklahoma State, which took a 27-19 lead on a Williams 3 to end the spurt.
West Virginia rallied back, getting back-to-back buckets from Aaric Murray in the waning moments of the half -- the second on a putback dunk that barely beat the buzzer -- to pull within 35-33.
But the momentum didn’t carry over, as WVU was quickly buried in the early stages of the second half.
"That is not playing," Huggins said. "The truth is, we got beaten to loose balls, we got beaten to balls going out of bounds. And we've gotten beaten to everything. We have a whole bunch of guys standing around and watching."
For the Mountaineers, Murray came off the bench to lead all scorers with 11 points. Humphrey saw a rare bit of extended action and added 10. The two reserves were the only two players to reach double figures for WVU.
Conversely, Oklahoma State had five players with 10 or more points. Le’Bryan Nash and Brown led them with 16 each, while Smart scored 14 despite and added four assists and three steals despite playing only 23 minutes.