Oklahoma State fell to West Virginia 70-60 in Morgantown on Tuesday night. Despite a quick second-half surge to make things interesting, the Cowboys (8-6, 1-2 in the Big 12) couldn’t string enough buckets together consistently throughout the game — or avoid shooting themselves in the foot down the stretch — to keep up with the Mountaineers, now 13-2 (2-1 in conference).
The Cowboys briefly took a four-point lead in the early goings of the first half and stayed within one possession until midway through the period. But Moussa Cisse lasted just four minutes into the game after picking up two quick fouls, and West Virginia’s Gabe Osabuohien took advantage. The Mountaineer big went on a run of nine-straight points in the second half of the period. Then the game’s leading scorer, Jalen Bridges, scored five-straight and, before they knew it, the Cowboys had fallen into double-digit hole late in the first half. Meanwhile, the Cowboys went cold.
After starting 4-of-7 from the field, the Pokes finished the half making just six of 25 shots. The Cowboys just missed a season-low in first-half scoring, trailing 34-23 at the break. Their worst first-half output was the 21 points they mustered in a loss to Oakland back on Nov. 12.
Three minutes into the second half, Cisse went back to the pine, and Osabuohien went back to scoring. He finished with 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting. In his 125 career games, it was just the sixth time that he’s reached double digits on the scoreboard.
But the Cowboys had bigger problems. Namely Bridges. Without leading scorer Taz Sherman, Bridges took up the mantle, scoring a season-high 22 points on 6-of-14 shooting. The Cowboys didn’t have an answer for the sophomore.
The last time Avery Anderson visited WVU Coliseum, he dropped 31 points on just 14 shots in a win. Five days later he scored 17 in another Cowboys’ win in the Big 12 Tournament against the Mountaineers. That might have rubbed Mountaineers’ fans the wrong way. Anderson struggled in the first half, going 2-for-9 from the field including back-to-back 3-point misses on the same possession. After his second attempt missed iron, he earned an “aiiiirrball” chant each time he touched the ball after. Anderson finished just 3-of-13 and with 9 points. He was 0-for-5 from 3.
The Cowboys fell behind by as much as 16 nearly midway through the second half, but surged back with a 9-0 run fueled by Isaac Likekele to pull within 53-46 with just under eight minutes to go. But the Cowboys couldn’t get out of their own way. Three OSU turnovers in just over two minutes helped jump-start a 10-0 WVU run to take back control of the game. The Cowboys would end on a 7-0 run, but it takes more than sparse bursts of scoring to win on the road.
When the Cowboys took down No. 14 Texas in Stillwater on Saturday, they did plenty of damage from the charity stripe. Free throws and free-throw shooting do not appear to travel. West Virginia came in as the Big 12’s worst free-throw shooting team but made 21-of-22 free ones while the Cowboys finished just 9-of-15 on free-throws.
Bryce Williams led OSU with 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting and four assists. Isaac Likekele added 11 going 5-of-15 from the field. He grabbed six boards and dished out three assists.
Next up, Oklahoma State has a long trip and a short turnaround before tipping off against No. 19 Texas Tech in Lubbock at 6 p.m. Thursday. The Red Raiders handed No. 1 Baylor its first loss of the year on Tuesday night.
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