MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Lindy Waters buried the go-ahead 3-pointer with 17 seconds left and Oklahoma State’s late barrage stunned No. 19 West Virginia 88-85 on Saturday.
Behind 20 points each from Kendall Smith and Cameron McGriff, the Cowboys (15-10, 5-7) replicated last weekend’s upset win at Kansas.
“At some point maybe the conversation needs to turn to ‘Oklahoma State’s not awful.’ Just give us that,” joked OSU coach Mike Boynton. “Let’s go from awful to not awful and we’ll go from there.”
And at some point, maybe the Big 12 champion should be plucked out of a hat. Kansas lost again Saturday, 80-64 at Baylor, and last-place Iowa State beat Oklahoma 87-80.
That became the only silver lining for the Mountaineers (18-7, 7-5), who entered as 11-point favorites.
Jevon Carter brazenly snapped out of a mini-slump by scoring 33 points, twice putting his team ahead in the final 1:18. But the Cowboys scored on seven of their final eight possessions, including four 3s.
“We gave them too many open shots,” Carter said.
After missing 18-of-25 shots in his previous two games, Carter penetrated repeatedly and sank 11-of-18 in the loss. When OSU went zone, his pull-up jumper from the right wing put WVU ahead 85-83 with 37 seconds left.
Smith missed a midrange jumper on OSU’s ensuing possession but grabbed a deflected rebound in the lane and passed to Waters for the corner 3.
“I attacked and saw Lindy, who’s an unbelievable shooter,” Smith said. “I trusted him, gave him the ball and he made another big shot.”
Down 86-85, the Mountaineers wanted to run a low-post feed to Sagaba Konate. Instead, with the clock down to 7 seconds, the team’s top-percentage 3-point shooter Beetle Bolden took a deep-but-open jumper that kicked off back rim.
That miss led to a run-out dunk with 1 second left by Jeffrey Carroll, who scored 14.
In rapid-response, WVU fired a long inbound pass to Carter for a desperation 30-foot heave that missed.
“We just made a couple more plays at the end than they did,” Boynton said.
Esa Ahmad scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half, including an alley-oop dunk off a lob from Daxter Miles that appeared to give West Virginia the breathing room it needed at 74-68.
“It seemed like we had the momentum,” Ahmad said, “but it was a back-and-forth game.”
Waters finished with 10 points, all in the second half, including a game-tying 3 at 81-all.
“Lindy hadn’t been much of a factor for us at all, until the end,” Boynton said.
With McGriff going 13-of-13 at the foul line before fouling out with 3:47 left, the Cowboys made 30-of-36 overall, matching their season high for attempts from the first time they faced West Virginia on Dec. 29.
The Mountaineers sank 24-of-28 free throws and were whistled for only one more foul (24) than the visitors.
Lamont West added 10 points for West Virginia, which had won six of the previous seven meetings.
West sank two 3s during a 14-3 run that gave the Mountaineers a 57-49 edge. They shot 51 percent for the game, but after grabbing nine offensive rebounds in the first half, they added only one more.
McGriff’s nine rebounds helped Oklahoma State to a 31-28 edge overall. Mitchell Solomon added seven boards and 10 points.
Konate had eight points and seven rebounds despite being saddled by his own foul problems. He earned his fourth with 8:54 left and went to the WVU bench for 5 minutes — returning when his replacement, Logan Routt, fouled out.
Ahmad spent most of the first half on the bench after picking up two fouls in the opening 2:29.
On his way to 16 first-half points, McGriff made nine straight free throws, two of which put OSU ahead 32-27. The lead evaporated over the final 2:47 when Carter countered with nine points to spark a 12-4 run.
After his driving step-back jumper with 4 seconds left made it 39-36, Carter whoofed at the Cowboys bench and trotted off to the locker room.
“Carter, we just couldn’t contain him,” Boynton said.
But the Mountaineers, seeking to extend a two-game win streak, were hardly containers themselves during the second half, when the Pokes shot 53 percent and scored 52 points.
Said Ahmad: “They just hit one more shot than us.”