No. 6 West Virginia fell to No. 17 Oklahoma State 85-80 to end their 2020-21 regular season with an 18-8 (11-6) record.
Oklahoma State was without its starting backcourt and the backbone of their team in Cade Cunningham and Isaac Likekely due to injury but that didn't stop the Cowboys from playing hard and hanging with West Virginia from start to finish and eventually winning the game.
With it being senior day in Morgantown, Gabe Osabuohien started in place of Derek Culver and Taz Sherman started in place of Sean McNeil.
The Cowboys quickly jumped out to a 4-0 lead thanks to a pair of free-throws from Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe and a mid-range jumper from Bryce Williams. Emmitt Matthews Jr. notched the first five points of the afternoon for the Mountaineers with a couple of free-throws and knocking down a three-ball in front of the Oklahoma State bench.
A few minutes later, Culver entered the game and immediately went to work inside the paint picking up a quick seven points in seven minutes. Unfortunately for the Mountaineers, he was not able to remain in the game after he picked up two quick fouls that forced Huggins to sit him for the remainder of the first half.
Once Culver picked up his 2nd foul of the day senior guard Taz Sherman took it upon himself to lead the offense and he did so with efficiency. He scored 10 of West Virginia's next 15 points and finished the half 5/9 from the field and 3/4 from the three-point line.
For Oklahoma State, it was Avery Anderson III that was the go-to man on the offensive end of the floor. He totaled eleven points on 5/6 shooting while also collecting four rebounds. Had the Cowboys took better care of the ball in the first half (11 turnovers) they could have gone into the break with the lead, but ultimately found themselves trailing 39-34.
The first ten minutes of the 2nd half were dominated by Oklahoma State as they not only erased the five-point deficit but jumped out to a 57-53 lead. Moncrieffe provided a boost chipping in nine points while Williams, Anderson III, and the Boone brothers also contributed to the comeback. West Virginia's defense had a hard time stopping the dribble drive and Oklahoma State made it look easy by shooting at about a 56% clip with most of their looks coming close to the rim. The Mountaineers turned the ball over seven times during that span, which led to extra opportunities for the Pokes.
Thanks to Oklahoma State getting into foul trouble, West Virginia stayed within reach by converting at the free-throw line scoring 13 of their next 20 points from the charity stripe. Sophomore guard Miles McBride became a menace on the defensive end which forced a couple of Oklahoma State turnovers, getting their offense out of rhythm for the first time all game. With three minutes to go, the Cowboys held a slim 74-73 lead.
Culver made one of two from the line to make it a 76-74 game but Avery Anderson III was fouled by McBride and pushed the lead back to four. Taz Sherman finished with a tough basket at the rim and then on the next possession misses a three that would have given the Mountaineers the lead. Kalib Boone followed that up by knocking down a pair from the free-throw line once again, pushing the lead to four. The Mountaineers missed on their next possession but Sherman came up with a steal in the backcourt and laid it in for an easy layup with 56 seconds left.
Avery Anderson came up with a huge basket for Oklahoma State making it 82-78 with 34 ticks left. Kedrian Johnson pushed the ball up the floor and got a layup to get West Virginia back within two. The Mountaineers nearly trapped Anderson III into a turnover but a foul was called on Sherman. Anderson made one of two which kept it at a one-score game.
Down three, the Mountaineers tried to force it into Culver which ended up being a loose ball that the Cowboys gained control of, essentially putting the game out of reach for WVU.
You can follow us for future coverage by clicking "Follow" on the page's top righthand corner. Also, be sure to like us on Facebook & Twitter:
Facebook - @WVUonSI