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West Virginia chases Cowboys into fatigued defeat

By Staff | Jan 6, 2017

Cause a turnover. Make a steal. Harass and harangue Oklahoma State’s flagging guards. See the results of the team-wide fatigue the Cowboys had at the end of West Virginia’s 92-75 road win that began the Big 12 conference portion of the schedule.

Dripping wet and visibly shaken by West Virginia’s constant pressure, the stunned Cowboys were so fatigued at the close of last Friday’s game in Stillwater, that even their free throws became a task that couldn’t be completed in the final 10 minutes.

Even though 29 fouls were whistled against the hard-edged Mountaineers, Oklahoma State could not turn the free throw line into an advantage.

None of the Mountaineers fouled out. Daxter Mills, Jevon Carter and Nathan Adrian each had four fouls, but the 20 fouls called on the Mountaineers in the second half did not become an albatross . . . because the tired-and-getting-more-tired Cowboys made just 20 of 33 free throws . . . or 60-percent of their chances.

Usually a fair-to-middlin’ free throw shooting team themselves, the Mountaineers made 20 of 26 chances, or 77-percent.

A star-spangled beginning to the game helped West Virginia immensely. There was a 19-7 lead that all but muted the crowd of over 13,000. The 41-28 lead by halftime had caused a disruption to OSU coach Brad Underwood’s player rotation and had seen West Virginia receive positive contributions off its bench from three players needed because of the pile of fouls bending the Mountaineers’ backs.

When it wasn’t scoring in transition, West Virginia startled the home side with Miles driving in close for contested layups and Carter drilling high-arching three-pointers.

Even Sagaba Konate and Brandon Watkins were helping the West Virginia cause.

And they were needed as the fouls blanketed almost the entire roster. Lamont West scored nine points in his eight minutes.

With Tarik Phillip and Teyvon Myers able to twist the tourniquet on Oklahoma’s State offense when Miles or Carter were out, the Mountaineers only let the Cowboys get within eight points on three occasions . . . and then quickly fortified their lead with assisted, in-close dunks from Watkins or Kobatka.

And when fouled the Mountaineers continued to make their free throws.

The spacious lead hovered over 20 points at times.

West Virginia’s nationally-ranked record read 12-1, and there was second straight conference road game at Texas Tech late this past Tuesday to contend with before any conference home games.

West Virginia’s pressure defense had fatigued the confident Cowboys. And that opponent-fatigue had gained West Virginia a could-be-crucial conference road win.