STILLWATER, Okla. — Forward Le’Bryan Nash scored a career-high 29 points, carrying No. 11 Oklahoma State with star guard Marcus Smart in foul trouble and leading the Cowboys past West Virginia, 81-75, on Saturday before an estimated 10,000 at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Nash made 10-of-13 shots from the floor and 9-of-14 free throws, also adding nine rebounds before fouling out with 1:40 remaining.
West Virginia stayed close behind guards Eron Harris and Juwan Staten and was within 75-72 in the final minute. But Cowboys guard Phil Forte scored Oklahoma State’s final six on free throws to clinch the win.
The Cowboys improved to 16-3 overall and 4-2 in the Big 12, while West Virginia is 11-9 and 3-4.
Harris scored 21 points for the Mountaineers and Staten added 19.
The first half started with physical play on both ends of the floor, creating foul concerns for both teams.
The Mountaineers were whistled for 18 fouls and had two players with three personals and four with two at the break. The Cowboys, already lacking depth, were missing starters Smart and Kamari Murphy for a significant stretch of the first 20 minutes.
Murphy, the team’s only legitimate post player following the loss of Michael Cobbins to injury, played only four minutes after picking up his second foul. Smart sat for eight minutes with two fouls.
West Virginia guard Juwan Staten sparked the Mountaineers to an early lead, scoring 12 first-half points on 5-of-8 shooting. Forward Remi Dibo’s 14-foot jumper at the 7:44 mark gave West Virginia its biggest lead, 25-18.
The Cowboys rallied behind Nash and backup point guard Stevie Clark. Nash filled the void of Murphy with 18 points and seven rebounds in the paint, while Clark picked up some of the Smart slack, scoring seven points
When Oklahoma State closed the half on a 16-5 run, punctuated with dunks by guard Markel Brown and Nash in the closing seconds, it led 42-35 at intermission.
NOTES: It was “Remember The Ten” day at Gallagher-Iba Arena, recognizing the 10 men associated with the basketball program who died in a plane crash returning from a game at Colorado on Jan. 27, 2001. Eight of the 10 families had representatives at the game. There was a moment of silence prior to tip. … Coaches from both teams wore white Nikes as part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers weekend. … West Virginia G Juwan Staten extended a stretch of consecutive games with 14 points or more to 12 games. He had 12 points by halftime.
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