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No. 6 WVU Hosts No. 17 Oklahoma State in Top 20 Clash

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–West Virginia is wrapping up a brutal stretch of games with Oklahoma State on Saturday at the WVU Coliseum.

Both the sixth-ranked Mountaineers and the Cowboys are playing good basketball of late.

WVU is coming off a 76-67 win over TCU on Thursday night.

In that win, freshman Jalen Bridges (6.0 points) put on a show with his talent. The Fairmont native recorded his first double-double, scoring a career-high 22 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. He went eight-of-nine from the charity stripe.

As a whole, the Mountaineers shot better from the line in the win, making 26-of-30. Junior Derek Culver (14.8 points, 10 rebounds) connected for seven-of-nine and junior Sean McNeil (12.1 points) made seven-of-eight.

It was a good thing, WVU was spot-on from the line considering Deuce McBride (15.5 points, 4.7 assists), McNeil and Taz Sherman (13.1 points) didn’t have their best games from the floor.

Culver had 17 points and eight rebounds. McNeil tallied 14 and McBride finished with 10 points and five assists.

One issue that has hurt the Mountaineers in Tuesday’s loss to Baylor and again on Thursday was Gabe Osabuohien fouling out. Without the senior forward, WVU doesn’t have a lot of depth.

Freshman Seny Ndiaye isn’t ready for the kind of play the Mountaineers need. Osabuohien will need to find a way to cut back on the fouls on Saturday and the upcoming post season games.

Junior Jordan McCabe missed the game on Thursday and is questionable for Saturday.

Freshman phenom Cade Cunningham has been the story of the year for the 17th rank Cowboys, who are coming off an 81-70 loss to Baylor on Thursday.

During the final minute of the game, the guard was dribbling up the court and stepped on the Bear’s Davion Mitchell’s foot and rolled his ankle. However, Cunningham did walk off the court on his own.

The 6-foot-8, 220-pound star is averaging 19.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists on the season. He is a crucial component to Ok State’s offense. Against Oklahoma a week ago, Cunningham netted 40 points while grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out four assists.

His status for the game is unknown but the Cowboys’ head coach Mike Boynton doesn’t seem overly concerned about his overall status for the season.

“We’re first and foremost worried about his future,” Boynton told the Tulsa World. “As much as winning and representing our program is, my commitment to these kids is always first, so I want to make sure he’s okay. If he’s okay, he’ll continue to work with us, and if it’s anything more serious than it feels like it is right now, we’ll evaluate how we’ll move forward.”

Cunningham has accounted for 41 percent of all Ok State’s field goals over the last five contests. He has 40 field goals and 18 assists in those games.

Without Cunningham, it is a different ballgame for the Cowboys.

Kalib Boone averages 9.8 points and 5.5 rebounds a contest.

Oklahoma State is 13-0 when holding opponents to 75 points or fewer, and 4-7 on the year when teams score any more than 75.

Tipoff is a 2 p.m. (ET).

Photo credit: Dale Sparks

Shanna Rose
WVU Graduate with a bachelor's in journalism and multimedia journalist. Sports Fan and sports writer. Former WVU News reporter. Contact Shanna on Twitter @SMR1837
http://bluegoldsports.com
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