Friday’s game wasn’t West Virginia vs. Brad Underwood, but a few Mountaineers players sure felt that way.
How could they forget their only previous matchup against Underwood — last season’s 70-56 upset loss to Stephen F. Austin in the NCAA tournament opener?
This time West Virginia administered a 92-75 beating to open the Big 12 schedule, and its 33 field goals more than doubled the 16 it produced last March against SFA.
Bob Huggins suggested the officiating took a midgame turn after West Virginia was whistled for nine fouls in the opening half and 20 in the second half.
No one fouled out for the Mountaineers, though Nathan Adrian, Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles each finished with four fouls. (West Virginia entered Friday committing 18.7 fouls per game.)
“The way they were calling fouls I didn’t think anyone was going to be left,” Huggins said. “I’ve never seen such a difference in the two halves.”
The disparity wasn’t so wide for Oklahoma State, which drew 11 of its 20 fouls after intermission. But the fans and Underwood became irate after 6-foot guard Juwan Evans received a foul for what appeared to be a clean boxout on the 6-9 Adrian.
“Welcome to the Big 12, ” said Underwood. “There’s a bump on every play, there’s a hit on every play. And every time you take it to the basket, there’s going to be contact.”
West Virginia forward Elijah Macon a 10-game starter averaging 5.4 points and 3.2 rebounds, missed the game with a knee injury suffered last week against Northern Kentucky. The team described his status as day-to-day.
Macon’s absence forced Adrian to play a season-high 36 minutes and Brandon Watkins to play 25, his most since the December 2014 game against Marshall.
Underwood praises WVU
The Mountaineers beat Oklahoma State for the third straight year in Stillwater and the fifth consecutive meeting overall.
“The grit, the fight, the toughness — we’ve got a long way to go in this areas,” Underwood said. “We got exposed today. That West Virginia team today brought it more than we did.”
The Cowboys led for only 17 seconds after Lucas N’Guessan’s dunk on the opening possession. West Virginia led by double-digits for the 23 of the final 24 minutes.
“There were four or five loose balls — the kind we’ve gotten those all year — but today they beat us to everything,” Underwood said. “And those became points for them.”
“The waves of guys they subbed in, all the fresh bodies on the court, it was pressure, pressure, pressure for 40 minutes. … It kind of turned into just playing pickup, with guys playing five-out and just trying to make plays.” — Leyton Hammonds on facing “Press Virginia”
Notes, numbers, etc.
Only shooting 64 percent at the foul line this season, WVU made 20-of-26 for 77 percent. Oklahoma State came in making 76 percent of its free throws yet hit only 20-of-33 for 61 percent. … The Mountaineers narrowly owned the rebounding edge 33-32. … West Virginia scored 50 points in the paint thanks to dribble penetration and transition baskets.