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West Virginia 73, Oklahoma State 63

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STILLWATER, Okla. — West Virginia eventually heated up Saturday.

On both ends of the floor.

The No. 23-ranked Mountaineers scored on 13-of-16 possessions during the decisive stretch of the second half, blowing open a tight game with No. 22 Oklahoma State and winning, 73-63, at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

West Virginia shot only 32 percent from the floor in the first half, but went 11-of-22 after the break, when guard Gary Browne scored 16 of his 18 points.

The Mountaineers stifled Oklahoma State, too, using their signature pressure defense to create opportunities for themselves and make problems for the Cowboys.

Oklahoma State shot 50 percent from the floor in the second half, but two of their eight baskets came in the final minute. The Cowboys also committed seven turnovers, four during West Virginia’s surge, over the final 20 minutes.

The Mountaineers (21-6, 9-5 in the Big 12) snapped a two-game road losing streak. They had lost their last two road games by an average of 19.5 points.

The Cowboys (17-10, 7-8) lost their third straight.

West Virginia returns home Tuesday to face Texas, while Oklahoma State gets a week off before visiting Texas Tech on Saturday.

Forward Le’Bryan Nash led the Cowboys with 12 points, but guard Phil Forte, the team’s second-leading scorer, scored only 10 points, getting off only three shots and making one against the Mountaineers’ swarming defense.

Oklahoma State started strong, jumping out to a 13-4 lead through the 12-minute mark.

Point guard Anthony Hickey led the early surge, firing in two 3-pointers, although those would be the only points he would score in the half.

The Mountaineers used a 9-0, defensive-fueled run to pull even at 13-13, with Staten scoring six points.

The rest of the half was a grind, highlighted by turnovers and poor shooting.

West Virginia shot only 32 percent from the floor and committed 11 turnovers, while Oklahoma State shot 40 percent and gave the ball away eight times.

The Cowboys went one stretch of 8:29 without a field goal.

The difference for the Mountaineers was a 19-11 edge on the boards, leading to a 5-0 edge in second-chance points.

NOTES: Saturday’s game pitted the Big 12’s top two teams in steals. The Mountaineers, the national leader in the category, averaged 3.3 more than Oklahoma State at 11.8 to 8.5 per game. Going head-to-head in for the first time this season, each team finished with five steals. … West Virginia improved to 18-0 this season when holding its opponent to 69 points or fewer. … The Mountaineers won against Oklahoma State for the first time as members of the Big 12. The Cowboys had won the previous four games in conference play. The only other meeting came in 1958, with West Virginia winning, 67-49.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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