Hot-shooting Oklahoma State claims 88-85 victory over West Virginia

Goodbye to Bob Huggins’ scraggly goatee.

Huggins vowed he wouldn’t shave his facial adornment after West Virginia beat Kansas State last week.

He’ll be going to the razor after Oklahoma State’s gritty 88-85 triumph over the No. 17 Mountaineers.

Lindy Waters’ dagger 3-pointer with 14 seconds left gave Oklahoma State the lead for good.

And after Beetle Bolden’s misfired on a 3-pointer on the next possession. After a long rebound, Jeffrey Carroll’s transition dunk was the icing on the cake.

Jevon Carter’s 40-footer glanced off the rim at the buzzer, enabling the Cowboys to claim the wild upset. It was their second stunning upset in as many Saturdays after winning at Kansas last week.

West Virginia drops to 18-7 and 7-5 in Big 12 play. Oklahoma State improves to 15-10, 5-7.

3 Who Mattered

  • Jevon Carter: The Mountaineers’ senior leader broke out of a recent offensive slump with a career-high 33 points. He also added 4 rebounds and 4 assists as the primary West Virginia offensive weapon.
  • Esa Ahmed: He came up big with 5 key points during a late surge that put West Virginia in position to win. He finished with 16 points. It was his third double-figure game in his last 4, after he was shut out in the previous 2 games.
  • Cameron McGriff: The Cowboys got a big lift from McGriff, who went for 20 points and 9 rebounds before fouling out with 2:27 left in the game.

Turning Point

West Virginia led the game for more than 27 minutes. But Oklahoma State came up with the key plays it needed down the stretch during a 7-2 stretch to put the game away.

3 observations

  • West Virginia’s 1-3-1 zone has some big holes in the corners because of its lack of height. Oklahoma State was able to exploit it late in the game with a couple of key 3-pointers. It’s what happened on the game-winning shot by Waters deep in the left corner.
  • Still wondering why Carter didn’t have control of the ball in the penultimate possession for the Mountaineers capped by Bolden’s errant 3-pointer. Huggins said after the game that it wasn’t the play called.
  • One of the most intriguing moments came midway through the second half when Sagaba Konate went too far out and fouled Tavarius Shine on a jumper. It prompted a blast for Konate from teammate Dax Miles in the West Virginia huddle.  Huggins will take this kind of responsibility from one teammate to another.  into halfcourt game.

The number

Saturday’s victory was the eighth time in Oklahoma State’s last 11  games that were settled by 2 possessions or less. Their execution down the stretch enabled them to win in Morgantown for the second straight season.

What’s next for West Virginia basketball

West Virginia is home again Monday when TCU visits WVU Coliseum for a 9 p.m. ET “Big Monday” tipoff on ESPN. The Horned Frogs claimed an 82-73 triumph in Fort Worth on Jan. 22.

The Mountaineers shot 33.3 percent from the field in the loss as Jevon Carter led them with 16 points. Alex Robinson posted a near triple-double in the TCU victory with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists. Desmond Bane chipped in with 15.

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