Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

February 24, 2013

Pokes lasso Mountaineers 73-57

By JOHN RABY
Associated Press

HUNTINGTON — Le’Bryan Nash and Markel Brown scored 16 points apiece to lead five Oklahoma State players in double figures, and the 14th-ranked Cowboys overcame a terrible start to beat cold-shooting West Virginia 73-57 Saturday.

Marcus Smart added 14 points, Brian Williams scored 13 and Michael Cobbins had 10 for Oklahoma State (20-6, 10-4), which shook off a double-overtime loss to No. 9 Kansas on Wednesday.

Oklahoma State overcame an early six-point deficit and never trailed after halftime, using its defense to stifle any comeback attempt by the Mountaineers (13-14, 6-8).

Aaric Murray led West Virginia with 11 points and Matt Humphrey scored 10.

West Virginia trailed by 2 points at halftime but couldn’t keep up the momentum, falling apart with lapses on both ends of the floor. The Mountaineers shot 30 percent (16 of 53) for the game.

Oklahoma State shot 52 percent (14 of 27) after halftime to give fifth-year coach Travis Ford his 100th win with the Cowboys.

Smart, who was limited to 3 minutes of first-half floor time with foul trouble, made a pair of steals in a 14-second span that turned into easy baskets. They were part of a 13-2 run that put the Cowboys ahead 58-43 with 9:29 remaining.

Needing baskets as Oklahoma State pulled away, West Virginia instead went nearly 7 minutes between field goals and lost for the third time in four games.

The Mountaineers didn’t have to worry much about Oklahoma State freshman Phil Forte, who torched West Virginia for a career-high 26 points in the Cowboys’ blowout win in their previous meeting in Stillwater, Okla. Forte finished with 2 points.

West Virginia freshman Eron Harris, who had scored in double figures in nine of 11 games entering this week, was held to 6 points. He went scoreless on Monday in a loss at Kansas State.

Oklahoma State committed six turnovers in the game’s first four minutes with Smart already on the bench with three fouls. West Virginia used those turnovers to take a 12-5 lead, but it didn’t last.

The Cowboys managed just four field goals over the first 12 minutes, then got six of them in a 2:09 span. Nash scored six points during the 13-4 run that put Oklahoma State ahead 27-19 with 5 minutes remaining in the half.

Given wide-open chances, the Mountaineers couldn’t hit many jumpers, but Murray scored West Virginia’s final six points of the half, including a dunk off a rebound at the buzzer to cut the deficit to 35-33.