MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Trailing by one point in the final 17 seconds, West Virginia coach Bob Huggins wanted the ball entered to Sagaba Konate.
That play never transpired, a recurring frustration for Huggins during the late stages of Saturday’s 88-85 loss to Oklahoma State.
“It was for Sags,” he said. “We were going to throw it close, but then we were going to do that for 4 1/2 minutes and we didn’t do it.”
Instead of working the ball to Konate, who’s developing into one of the Big 12’s top interior scorers, West Virginia was forced to settle for Beetle Bolden’s 3-point try from the wing as the clock reached 7 seconds.
“Clock was winding down. I had a nice look at it, but I just missed,” said Bolden.
On the OSU bench, coach Mike Boynton chose a zone defense, concerned about Jevon Carter continuing his 33-point performance.
“Carter, we just couldn’t contain him. He literally lived in our paint area the whole second half,” Boynton said.
Konate attempted only five shots, his fewest since Jan. 1, and finished with eight points after averaging nearly 15 in his previous seven games.
“I’ve never seen a big kid get this much better this quickly during the season as Konate has,” Boynton said. “He’s tremendous.”
Huggs on officiating: ‘You saw it.”
The disparity wasn’t noticeable — 24 fouls charged to WVU and 23 against OSU — but Huggins bickered with official Kelly Self over numerous calls.
The Cowboys shot 18 free throws to West Virginia’s six in the first half before the final margin became 36-28.
“With that (screen) on the scoreboard, you can look at it,” Huggins said. “You saw it as much as I saw it. You know what the answer to that is.”
For the second time in eight days, Cowboys forward Cameron McGriff delivered a 20-point, nine-rebound stat line. The first time led to a shocking win at Kansas, and then came Saturday’s upset of WVU.
“That’s who McGriff has been for about three weeks now,” Boynton said.
McGriff inflicted most of his damage during a 16-point first-half outburst, making all nine free-throw attempts to keep OSU within 39-36.
“In the first half, he certainly was the guy that kept us within striking distance even though we didn’t play a great half of basketball,” Boynton said.
McGriff tacked on four more free throws in the second half to finish 13-of-13. That matched Isaiah Thomas of Texas (Feb. 16, 2016) and Robin Porter of VMI (Dec. 1, 1965) as the best single-game foul-shooting performances by a WVU opponent
“He’s the best defender in the country, and it’s not even close. In fact, he’s so good that a lot of teams don’t even let their point guard play point guard.” — Boynton on Jevon Carter