After a very nice win at home against Texas, the Cowboys parlay their momentum into a strong road win against conference foe West Virginia. Despite Morgantown typically being a tough venue, the ‘Neers being down this year meant that this game was one of the more winnable road games in the Big 12. It was a game the Cowboys desperately needed if they had aspirations of turning their seasons around and fittingly the win brings the Pokes to .500 overall and in conference.
Early on, WVU kept themselves in the game from the free-throw line making all eight of their attempts in the first half and remaining perfect until finally missing their thirteenth attempt. Coming into the game, West Virginia was shooting below 60% from the line in Big 12 play. Interestingly, KenPom says that Cowboys opponents were shooting 73.4% coming into this game, which is 49th best in D1 for a team’s opponents. Some of this is probably just playing against good free-throw shooting teams, but it feels like opponents make shots they don’t normally make when playing the Pokes.
The Cowboys were able to weather the anomaly with a 3-3 three-pointer performance from Thomas Dziagwa in the second half, and eventually would go on a nice run to push the lead to eleven at the half with a 39-28 lead.
Eleven would prove to be a key number, as the Cowboys eclipsed this mark only once, and hit the mark again three more times following key West Virginia pushes. West Virginia would get as close as within two in the second half, but Isaac Likekele, Cam McGriff, and Curtis Jones would all make key buckets to keep WVU at arms length. The Cowboys would make the majority of their free throws down the stretch to put the Mountaineers away for good at 85-77.
I said before that Likekele made some key buckets and he was seriously clutch. He put up a career high 23 (on 10!! shots) points to go along with 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal. He also ended a poor WVU dude:
Cam McGriff would ‘chip’ in another double-double (his fifth of the season) with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Curtis Jones added 15 much needed points after Michael Weathers went out early in the game with an ankle sprain. The injury was forgotten in the win, but getting Weathers back will be big for the Pokes as conference play continues. Dziagwa and Lindy Waters also scored a combined 20 points.
- Maurice Calloo has looked much better recently and has stopped trying to force his game.
- Kentrevious Jones played for the first time nine games in relief of a foul-ridden Yor Anei
- Curtis Jones is inconsistent, but has a really smooth game and shot that could really boost the Pokes
The Cowboys play four of their next five games at home and are back at action at home against Baylor on Monday. They’ll look to keep their positive momentum going against a Bears squad that’s playing better as of late.