MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – (January 5, 2021) — The No. 14-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers came back from a 19-point deficit in the second half to defeat the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Stillwater, 87-84.
With 11 minutes left, the Cowboys (7-3, 1-3 Big 12) led by potential No. 1 pick, Cade Cunningham, were up on the Mountaineers (9-3, 2-2 Big 12), 68-49. That didn’t stop West Virginia from laying down and taking the loss.
The comeback started with back-to-back three-pointers by Taz Sherman and Deuce McBride. This started what would become a 15-1 run by the Mountaineers in the next three minutes of play.
WVU completed the comeback by forcing Oklahoma State to turnover the ball. With three minutes left, McBride hit two, big threes; one to take the lead and one to extend it.
The Mountaineers were able to close the game out, going on a 38-16 run in the final 11 minutes.
WVU coach (and future Hall of Famer) Bob Huggins earned his 300th win at West Virginia. Huggins is also 10 wins away from career victory No. 900.
Coach Huggins commented on the challenge conference play brings every night and what he took away from the game on Monday night.
“It’s a great challenge,” Huggins said. “We’ve gotta keep Derek (Culver) on the floor, we need to keep Gabe (Osabuohien) on the floor more.”
“Obviously, we need to play Keddy (Kedrian Johnson) more,” Huggins added.
Derek Culver took advantage of the departure of Oscar Tshiebwe, posting a career night against the Cowboys. Culver finished with 22 points and 19 rebounds on 10-of-19 shooting.
The 6’10” forward’s 19 rebounds on Monday night is the third-most that Culver has recorded as a Mountaineer.
McBride had 21 points on 6-of-14 shooting. The Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati) alumni shot 3-of-5 from the three-point line.
Off the bench, Taz Sherman had another career-scoring night, scoring 20 points. Sherman shot 3-of-9 from three, and 5-of-7 from the free-throw line.
On Saturday against Oklahoma, it was Jalen Bridges that stepped it up for the Mountaineers. On Monday, it was Kedrian Johnson.
Johnson, who has only played 28 total minutes for WVU so far this season, was in the game for 25 minutes and interrupted the Cowboy’s offense.
The Dallas native was like an annoying fly. Left-and-right, it’s just bothering you everywhere you go. That’s how Johnson played in the comeback victory. If there is ever a loose ball, expect Johnson to be already on the floor.
The 6’3″ guard off the bench scored nine points on 2-of-3 shooting, his other four points came from the charity strike.
Coach Huggins explained his game-plan, giving Johnson as many minutes as he has recorded all year.
“Well, we weren’t getting any pressure on the ball. We had no ball pressure,” Huggins said. “So they were standing around and picking us apart with open people and their dribble penetration was absolutely killing us. So it was, ‘Ked (Kedrian), can you go stop somebody,’ and he said ‘yes, sir.'”
“I thought he was terrific. He (Johnson) was far-a-away the difference of the game,” Huggins added.
This could not have been the best time for this comeback from the Mountaineers, as they take their momentum back to Morgantown to welcome the No. 4-ranked Texas Longhorns on Saturday afternoon.
Coverage starts at 1 p.m. on ESPN.