As the final Saturday of Big 12 regular season basketball rolled around, Oklahoma State knew they would be faced with a tough task, in heading to Morgantown West Virginia to play the Mountaineers on their senior day. Getting off to a fast start was a must, and thats what OK State did. They came out of the locker room and couldn't miss a shot. Jeff Newberry led off the scoring with a 3 and the Pokes were off. Oklahoma State made their first 7 shots, including 2 threes, getting good shots against the WVU press. But, as expected, West Virginia fired right back and kept OSU on their heels. Although the Cowboys had not missed a shot for the first 6:49 of the game, they were still trailing for the majority of the first half.
Juwan Staten sat out the game with a knee injury again, but the Mountaineers certainly didn't lack any offense. Devin Williams had 12 points for West Virginia in the first matchup, and on Saturday he had 12 in the first half, including 6-6 from the free throw line. West Virginia cashed in from the line, going 9-10, however OK State did not shoot a single free throw in the first half, although they were in the bonus for the final 9 minutes.
Jeff Newberry kept the Pokes close in the first half, scoring 10 points on 2-2 three point shooting, as OSU made 5-10 threes in the first twenty minutes. LeBryan Nash had 8 points while playing with 2 fouls, and Phil Forte only made 1 shot, a transition three with 24 seconds to go in the half. OK State trailed 39-33 at halftime, the big reason for that was 11 turnovers committed by the Cowboys.
The second half, unfortunately for OK State, turned out to be much of the same thing.
West Virginia stormed out of the break and extended the lead to 14 points about 5 minutes in, effectively putting OK State on the ropes. OSU didn't roll over and accept defeat though, as they went on a 7-0 run including two Phil Forte threes into the 12 minute television timeout. Forte went 4-5 from deep in the first 8 minutes of the second half, sparking the Cowboys.
Forte seemed to be heating up and getting in a rhythm, but was taken out of the game for several minutes and placed on the bench. When he returned to the action, it seemed like they lost the momentum they had gathered, and WVU drew a 15 point advantage with 6:52 remaining.
OK State then pushed their foot to the gas pedal and sent everything they had at WVU, with Jeff Newberry and Anthony Hickey Jr. firing and making shot after shot. Jeff Newberry had a career day on Saturday, scoring 23 points, draining 3-6 from long range. Hickey had 17 points on the day, and shot a blistering 5-8 from three.
West Virginia had every answer to the Pokes though, as Devin Williams grabbed several key offensive rebounds, and lock down D from WVU proved to be too much. Williams frequented the free throw line, and he made the most of it, going 14-15 from the line, leading to his double-double and career high 22 points. West Virginia went to the free throw line 30 times in the game compared to OSU's 11 attempts, and the aggressiveness from WVU showed, as they constantly attacked down low on OK State's big men.
Although Oklahoma State made 11-21 three point shots on the day, it was not enough to knock off this feisty West Virginia team, as the Cowboys fell 81-72 in the final regular season game.
Oklahoma State will wait and see what seed they get in the Big 12 Championship; a 6 seed with a UT win over K State, but if the Wildcats win, OSU will get a 7 seed and have to play an extra game against TTU on Wednesday night. West Virginia is locked in as a 5 seed for the Championship.
Update: Oklahoma State will be the 6 seed in the Big 12 Championship, playing at 8:30 pm on Thursday night.