MORGANTOWN W.Va- The Mountaineers defeated the Oklahoma State Cowboys Tuesday by the score of 65-47, snapping a three-game skid and adding much-needed momentum as the team moves towards the latter of the Big 12 schedule.
After days of speculation following the road loss to Baylor, Bob Huggins’s hint of a lineup change came true, as Miles McBride and Taz Sherman both made their first start as a Mountaineer.
The change came after mustering just 49 points at home to Kansas, and 59 points in Saturday’s loss to Baylor.
The Cowboys came out hot out of the gate, shooting 62% in the first half, including 13 points from Cameron McGriff (6-7 shooting), who also had a double-digit scoring night when the Mountaineers visited Stillwater in early January.
Despite the Mountaineers shooting just 39% from the field in the first half and trailing by as many as ten, they were able to cut the Cowboy lead to five heading into the break, highlighted by a Jermaine Haley fadeaway three at the buzzer to reignite the crowd.
The Mountaineer defense picked up immediately in the second half, holding the Cowboys scoreless through the first six minutes of the second half, while going on a 10-0 run to take the lead back.
West Virginia shot 46% in the second half and pulled away from the Cowboys comfortably, behind 11 points from Sean McNeil and Miles McBride, but with all-around contributions from the entire team.
The Mountaineers also held the Cowboy offense to just fourteen second-half points.
Following his 20 point performance at Baylor Saturday, Taz Sherman led the Mountaineers in scoring in the first half with seven, finishing with nine as part of his first start of the season.
“The last few games, I feel like I’ve been in a rhythm,” said Sherman. “I’ve just been working hard, working on ‘game shots’, and I’m starting to see the results. I’m just working on shooting the same shot every time.
Although not seeing the results he wanted to see with the lineup change, head coach Bob Huggins was pleased with his team’s defensive effort in the second half that ignited the entire team.
“I think our defense propelled us,” said Huggins. “We finally made a couple of shots and some free throws. “Games are a little easier when the ball goes in the basket.
With the win, the Mountaineers move to 19-7 on the season and will take on TCU on the road in Fort Worth, this Saturday.
The game will tip-off at 2:00 PM and will be televised on ESPNU.