Alonzo J. Adams-USA TODAY Sports
West Virginia and Eron Harris (10) hope for some payback Saturday against Markel Brown and Oklahoma State at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater.
STILLWATER, Okla. — From inside historic Gallagher-Iba Arena, West Virginia faced a tall task against No. 11 Oklahoma State, which led the nation with a 19-point scoring margin.
Of course, the first time they met in Morgantown the margin couldn’t have been any smaller, and Saturday’s rematch was another close one.
Read the recap of the live-game updates from throughout the afternoon:
OKLAHOMA STATE 81, WEST VIRGINIA 75 (final)
West Virginia has a chance to tie during the final minute, but Nate Adrian can’t sink a 3 from the right wing. Phil Forte seals it at the foul line for Oklahoma State, making six straight in the final 36 seconds. … Staten finished with 19 points, and in a weird twist, each team wound up hitting 25 free throws.
OKLAHOMA STATE 72, WEST VIRGINIA 67 (3:25 second half)
Two Eron Harris 3s draw West Virginia to within 70-67, but then he picks up his fifth foul with 3:35 left (trying to defend Markel Brown driving the lane). There wasn’t much contact and last season that isn’t a foul, but with these freedom-of-movement rules, well. Harris jogs to the bench, arms outstretched—his day finished with 21 points on 6-of-7 3-point shooting.
OKLAHOMA STATE 68, WEST VIRGINIA 60 (6:24 second half)
Le’Bryan Nash now has 29 points after back-to-back and-1s (sandwiched around Gary Browne’s fourth foul as he tried to clear space in a trap and knocked down Smart). He’s making up for Smart’s abysmal 0-for-6 game.
OKLAHOMA STATE 60, WEST VIRGINIA 60 (7:34 second half)
Remember the brutal free-throw differential that favored Oklahoma State in the first half? Well, it has flipped in the second half, as West Virginia attempted the first 15 free throws before Nash went to the line at the 9:05 mark to finish an and-1. … The Pokes are just 4-of-20 from 3-point range, while WVU is 5-of-13. … Henderson is 1-of-7 from the floor tonight, leaving it to Staten (18 points) and Harris (15).
OKLAHOMA STATE 51, WEST VIRGINIA 50 (11:50 second half)
Harris’ hot streak is suspended when he picks up his fourth foul at the 15:05 mark and heads to the bench. Meanwhile, Markel Brown delivers a whirling 360-degree dunk and drains a 3 as the Cowboys reclaim the lead. … Marcus Smart has two points and three fouls so far today. If he remains quiet, WVU has a chance.
WEST VIRGINIA 46, OKLAHOMA STATE 44 (15:58 second half)
Harris scores nine straight points as West Virginia shows guts to open the second half. Staten hits two free throws and it’s an 11-2 Mountaineers run, sucking some of the energy out of the arena.
OKLAHOMA STATE 42, WEST VIRGINIA 35 (halftime)
The can’t-miss stat: OSU went 15-of-21 from the foul line in the half as WVU committed 18 fouls. The Mountaineers were 8-of-10 at the stripe as Okie State was whistled for 11. … Staten led WVU with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting, but committed four turnovers (part of WVU’s 11 overall). Nash scored 18 for the Pokes on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor and 6-of-11 from the foul line. … WVU led in rebounding 19-16.
OKLAHOMA STATE 42, WEST VIRGINIA 35 (halftime)
Remi Dibo wedged home a 3-pointer (nice backspin) at the 2:24 mark, but that was the end of the good news for WVU in the half. OSU went on a 10-0 run, closing with two dunks in the final 18 seconds to give this game a drastically new complexion. The final flurry was huge, beginning with Markel Brown’s putback dunk. Then Dibo inbounded toward walk-on Tyrone Hughes—making a rare first-half appearance because of WVU’s ridiculous foul situation—only to have Phil Forte knock the ball loose and make a diving tip-save in front of Huggins. The ball wound up in OSU’s hands and found its way back to Forte, who fed Nash for a dunk right before the buzzer. Huggins left the court shaking his head, but not before glancing up at the scoreboard and mouthing a “wow.”
OKLAHOMA STATE 32, WEST VIRGINIA 30 (3:45 first half)
After Staten loses the handle on the wing—boy, coaches hate live-ball turnovers—OSU gets into transition and Le’Bryan Nash drives for a layup while Gary Browne tries to too late to draw a charge. That’s No. 3 on Browne, No. 14 of the half on West Virginia and the Cowboys have their first lead.
WEST VIRGINIA 26, OKLAHOMA STATE 26 (6:15 first half)
Officials whistle a double foul as Harris defends Smart in the post—that’s costlier for Oklahoma State, because it was the second on Smart. But just a few moments later, Harris is hit with his second foul while trying to box out on the offensive end. Markel Brown his two foul shots to tie it.
WEST VIRGINIA 23, OKLAHOMA STATE 17 (8:09 first half)
Devin Williams was victimized by Smart’s gamesmanship—that’s the polite description—and picked up his second foul as the All-American guard knifed inside tying to rebound a missed free throw. It looked like Smart took a dive after tangling with Williams, but it’s the WVU big man who was whistled for his second foul. West Virginia’s facing a world of foul difficulty at this pace. … Remi Dibo has surfaced after not playing in the win over Texas Tech.
WEST VIRGINIA 14, OKLAHOMA STATE 8 (11:56 first half)
Brandon Watkins and Gary Browne become the second and third WVU players with two first-half fouls, so Bob Huggins’ game-management skills could be tested. Eron Harris is 2-of-2 from 3, but Terry Henderson—coming off his 28-point detonation against Texas Tech is a scoreless 0-for-3 from the floor.
WEST VIRGINIA 9, OKLAHOMA STATE 4 (14:28 first half)
The Mountaineers are out front because OSU has made only 1-of-7 to open the game, that includes an 0-for-3 start for Marcus Smart, all on 3-point tries. … Staten has four points and one assist right out of the gate, and WVU is outrebounding the Cowboys 9-6. Meanwhile starting forward Kevin Noreen picked up two quick fouls on the defensive end and went to the bench, replaced by Nate Adrian.
Oklahoma State won last year’s game here 80-66, but don’t forget that West Virginia built a 13-point lead before the thing came unraveled. Cowboys sixth man Phil Forte scored 26 points to spark the home team that day. Meanwhile, the Cowboys are 9-0 at home this year, including a 13-point win over Texas and a 21-point beatdown of Memphis.
There was a somber pregame remembrance as the Oklahoma State athletic department paid tribute to the 10 staffers killed in a plane crash back on Jan. 27, 2001. The plane crashed in a snowstorm en route back from a game at Colorado.