No. 14 Oklahoma State (20-6, 10-4): 73
West Virginia (13-14, 6-8): 57
IN A NUTSHELL:
It was ugly early for the Cowboys. Marcus Smart had three fouls in the first 2:34. Add a handful of sloppy turnovers, and the Mountaineers held an early 7-2 lead. Of OSU's first seven possessions, there were two attempted shots and five turnovers. Phil Jurick followed that up with a flagrant-one foul. It couldn't have been a worse start. Then, Brian Williams made his return. With the help of Markel Brown and LeBryan Nash, OSU went on a 19-4 run. Williams scored a season-high 8 points in the first half, Brown added 9 and Nash led all players with 10 points. With Smart on the bench, the Cowboys led 35-33 at the break.
Smart re-entered the game, but it remained close. Brown threw down a nice two-handed dunk after a Smart-forced turnover at the 12:29 mark, giving the Cowboys an 11-point lead – and they would never look back. In the first eight minutes of the second half, Smart had 7 points, three steals and two assists. It was more of the same down the stretch. Williams continued to impress, finishing his day with 13 points and 6 rebounds. It was an impressive dominant comeback for the Cowboys. They start a new winning streak, taking down WVU 73-57.
BY THE NUMBERS:
2:34: The minutes and seconds Marcus Smart played in the first half before sitting after picking up his third foul.
5: OSU starters who scored in double figures.
13: Points from Brian Williams; a season-high.
57.1: The Cowboys' 3-point shooting percentage.
80: Percent free-throw shooting from the Cowboys.
OSU MVP: Brian Williams
Marcus Smart was on the bench early with three fouls and the Cowboys needed someone to step up. Enter: Brian Williams. His 13 points and 6 assists more than filled the gap Smart left out in the first half. His emergence is a great sign moving forward, as OSU will need as much depth as possible entering the NCAA tournament. Williams played his role well Saturday afternoon, and it couldn't have come at a better time.
WVU MVP: Aaric Murray
Murray has been disappointing at times this season, but played well against the Cowboys on Saturday. His 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting kept the Mountaineers in it early. But WVU hasn't been able to put on a consistent offensive threat all season. Another tough loss for Huggins' squad.
Head coach Travis Ford: "It was a really poor start, but in some strange way, it almost made us focus a little bit. Even before the game, I could tell our guys ... we didn't have that energy I don't think. Not that you ever want to get Marcus Smart in foul trouble, but I think made everybody say, 'Uh-oh, we better raise our game.' I was trying to light a fire under our guys."
Marcus Smart: "(The three early fouls we're) very frustrating to me and my team, but we have a lot of guys who can contribute in a lot of ways, and they stepped up for us ... That definitely gave us a spark on the bench, because it was kind of like, if you're taking a shot at one of our leaders, that means you're taking a shot at us. They knew they had to step up."
UP NEXT: TCU
The Cowboys travel to Fort Worth to take on the Horned Frogs (10-16, 1-12) at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday / TV: ESPNU / RADIO: KSPI 93.7 FM