Brown helps OSU in narrow win

January 16, 2014

Markel Brown hit a three-point shot with seconds left as No. 9 Oklahoma State escaped from Morgantown with a 73-72 win over West Virginia.

“That was a very good college basketball game,” said OSU coach Travis Ford. “We have played three games in the Big 12 and I do not think that I have seen three more physical contests in my career. We have been in a couple battles this season.

“I have a large amount of respect for (West Virginia head coach) Bob Huggins. This West Virginia unit is a really good basketball team. We have been telling our guys over the last two days how improved the Mountaineers are this season. They play tough and physical. (West Virginia junior guard) Juwan Staten, (West Virginia sophomore guard) Eron Harris and (West Virginia sophomore guard) Terry Henderson are some of the better guards in the conference. They are very tough to defend against.

“We  did not guard very well in the first half. At halftime we changed some things and were able to get West Virginia off balance. Overall I think we just played better in the second half than we did in the first. Personally I believe the second half was one of the better halves of basketball we have played this season in terms of making adjustments.”

The Cowboys trailed for most of the game. All American Marcus Smart had 22 points and 13 rebounds for his second double-double in a row.

It was a frustrating loss for West Virginia. All six of West Virginia’s losses this year have been by 10 points or less, and the last three losses have been by the close margins of four to Gonzaga (80-76), three to Purdue (73-70) and by one to Oklahoma State.

OSU’s Le’Bryan Nash finished with 18 points and six rebounds.

West Virginia’s leading scorer, Harris, finished with 11 on 3 of 11 shooting.

“He didn’t play very well,” Huggins said. “I’m telling him every day, `you have to work.”‘

WVU hit just 35 percent of their shot attempts to finish shooting 41.4 percent for the game. Oklahoma State shot 44.8 percent in the second half and finished the game hitting 45 percent of its field goal tries.

West Virginia had a slight, 38-35 edge on the glass.

“This West Virginia unit is a really good basketball team,” said Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford. “We have been telling our guys over the last two days how improved the Mountaineers are this season. They play tough and physical.”

A season-high 12,078 showed up for the game.

Oklahoma State hosted TCU Jan. 15 and will travel to Kansas Saturday at 3 p.m. for a key Big 12 matchup.