MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — With the shot clock running down, Oklahoma State’s Le’Bryan Nash badly missed a desperation 3-pointer in front of West Virginia’s student section, only to have teammate Brian Williams there all alone under the basket to tip in the errant shot.
It seemed like No. 14 Oklahoma State had an answer to every challenge Saturday. The Cowboys overcame a terrible start and Marcus Smart’s early foul trouble with a strong second half to beat the cold-shooting Mountaineers 73-57.
“It wasn’t the prettiest of games,” Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said.
What was beautiful from the Cowboys’ perspective was teammates helping out teammates three days after a double-overtime loss to No. 9 Kansas.
“It was good to bounce back after the Kansas game,” Williams said. “We didn’t want to lose three or four straight before we got it back rolling. We let the last game go and tried to come out here and get the victory.”
Nash and Markel Brown scored 16 points apiece, Smart scored all 14 of his points in the second half, Williams added a career-high 13 points and Michael Cobbins scored 10 for Oklahoma State (20-6, 10-4).
Williams doubled his previous career high for points and made both 3-point tries after entering the game 1 of 6 from beyond the arc.
“I thought Brian Williams played the best that he’s played all year,” Ford said. “He’s starting to get back in form. The strength of our team is who are you going to stop? It’s pretty tough to focus on one or two guys on our team. We have some versatility. I liked the way the shots were distributed among our players.”
Oklahoma State shot 52 percent (14 of 27) after halftime and forced 11 second-half turnovers to give Ford his 100th win with the Cowboys.
West Virginia (13-14, 6-8) trailed by 2 points at halftime but couldn’t keep up the momentum, falling apart with lapses on both ends of the floor. The Mountaineers succumbed to Oklahoma State’s full-court press and shot 30 percent (16 of 53) for the game.