The Cowboys, 18-12 overall and 8-10 in the Big 12, will face No. 3 Oklahoma in a quarterfinal game at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. OU swept both games against OSU this season, winning 82-65 in Norman on Jan. 17 and taking a 64-56 victory in Stillwater on Jan. 31.
"It's grueling (playing in the Big 12)," OSU head coach Travis Ford said following the Cowboys loss to the Mountaineers. "It seems like every team in our league should go to the NCAA Tournament. Even the last place teams in our league, Texas Tech and TCU, are good basketball teams right now.
"It's been grueling. I'm proud of our guys. We went on a tough stretch, won some great games in the Big 12 regular season, lost some close games, (and) won some close games."
OSU’s Jeff Newberry hit a three-point early to give the Cowboys a 3-0 lead but the Mountaineers went on a 7-0 run and never trailed again. The Cowboys pulled within 39-33 at halftime after trailing by double digits late in the first half.
West Virginia’s Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr. drilled back-to-back treys early in the second half as the Mountaineers pushed their lead to 47-35, and it was an uphill battle the rest of the afternoon for Ford’s Cowboys.
Newberry, the transfer for New Mexico Junior College, was sensational for the Cowboys just three days after going scoreless in Wednesday’s victory over TCU (and playing just five minutes, the fewest he’s played since getting on the floor for three minutes against Oregon State on Nov. 24).
The junior from Atlanta, Ga. led the Cowboys with a career-high 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field, including going 3-of-6 from behind the three-point line.
West Virginia was dominant on the boards, out-rebounding OSU 33-22 with 16 of those being offensive rebounds. In the second half, the Mountaineers had a 23-10 margin on the boards.
Michael Cobbins had seven rebounds to lead the Cowboys but none of his teammates had more than four.
"(When you) go on the road and you're battling, you're not going to win many games when you only shoot 11 free throws and the other team shoots 30," Ford said. "It was a physical game all around.
"We just kind of played catch up the whole game. We played well, we just didn't have enough spurts in us, we didn't have enough runs in us, and we didn't have enough runs because we didn't get enough rebounds."
West Virginia’s Devin Williams tied a career-high with 22 points while grabbing 13 rebounds. He was 14 of 15 from the foul line.
Joining Newberry in double figures for the Cowboys were Anthony Hickey (17 points), Phil Forte (13) and Le’Bryan Nash (10, keeping alive his streak of scoring in double figures in each of the Cowboys’ 30 games this season).