If you were to ask most WVU fans what Big 12 team has the best record in the WVU Coliseum, many would probably not guess the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Surprisingly, the Cowboys are 6-3 inside the Coliseum, while WVU is 6-3 when playing in Stillwater. Oklahoma State has also picked up four wins in their last five trips to Morgantown, which is very uncommon for Big 12 opponents.
Before the Cowboys and Mountaineers prepare to do battle again in Morgantown tonight, let’s look back at some of the best moments between the two teams in Morgantown.
2014 (73-72 OSU)
In the season before coach Huggins created ‘Press Virginia,’ the Mountaineers were a fairly average team. The Mountaineers were led by their guard play with Juwan Staten, Eron Harris, and Terry Henderson. The Cowboys, however, were on a roll, sitting at No. 11 in the country. They were led by Marcus Smart, who was one of the best players in college basketball in 2014.
The Mountaineers would be led by Terry Henderson and Juwan Staten on this night, as Henderson scored 21 points while shooting 7-for-13 from the field, while making five three-pointers on seven attempts. Staten scored 20 points while shooting 7-for-12 from the field and made six free throws on seven tries.
While WVU got a pair of good performances from two of their best guards, it was tough to keep up with the rolling Cowboys. Smart came to play and scored 22 points, but the Cowboys also got a big contribution from Le’Bryan Nash. Nash contributed with 18 points, while making four three-pointers.
The game would go down to the wire, with Mountaineer faithful making the Coliseum loud. Down by one, WVU took a two-point lead when Terry Henderson made a three-pointer with 1:20 left to play. Nobody scored for a minute after the Henderson three, so there were only a couple possessions left.
With 26 seconds left, Oklahoma State brought the ball down with a chance to take the lead. The ball got reversed to Markel Brown, who hit a Mountaineer defender with a great pump fake, and then proceeded to knock down the huge three-point shot with 14 seconds to go.
The three-pointer proved to be fatal for the Mountaineers, as Oklahoma State escaped Morgantown with a 73-72 win. The Mountaineers were knocked out in the first round of the NIT Tournament that season, and Eron Harris and Terry Henderson transferred after the season. Juwan Staten, Devin Williams, and Gary Browne would stick around, and the next season started the ‘Press Virginia’ era.
2015 (81-72 WVU)
On Juwan Staten and Gary Browne’s senior night, both stars were in street clothes. Both Browne and Staten were nursing minor injuries so they would be healthy for the Big 12 and NCAA Tournaments.
Even though the guard duo scored a combined 40 points against the Cowboys in Stillwater, the Mountaineers would still come to play. WVU got its spark from big man Devin Williams, as he scored 22 points while making 14-of-15 free throws. Daxter Miles Jr. added 15 points as a freshman to help keep the Mountaineer lead throughout the game.
Oklahoma State was behind for most of this game, but they hung around because of the efforts from Jeff Newberry and Anthony Hickey. Newberry was the game’s leading scorer with 23 points while shooting 8-for-11 from the field. Hickey added 17 points and shot 6-for-11 from the field with five three-pointers.
WVU, now known as ‘Press Virginia,” would have a successful season, making the NCAA Tournament and reaching the Sweet 16. Oklahoma State would make the NCAA Tournament as well, but fell in the first round to Oregon.
2018 (88-85 OSU)
In Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr.’s senior season, the Mountaineers were good again, but weren’t the best at finishing games. WVU had seen multiple leads slip away in the season, including a loss to Kentucky and Kansas when they had a double-digit lead in both games.
While WVU did not let a huge lead slip away, this game was similar to the other ones because the Mountaineers led much of the way but couldn’t close it out.
This was Jevon Carter’s night, as he had a career-high 33 points in the game, shooting 11-for-18, and going 10-for-10 from the free-throw line. Esa Ahmad had 16 points, and Lamont West added 10 off the bench, but those were the only Mountaineers to reach double figures.
Oklahoma State, however, saw everyone in their starting lineup get double figures. The Cowboys also had two different 20-point scorers, with Cameron McGriff scoring 20 while shooting 13-for-13 from the free-throw line, and Kendall Smith scoring 20 off a 7-for-12 shooting performance.
WVU had an eight-point lead at one point in the second half, but Oklahoma tied the game two different times in the final two minutes. Jevon Carter, the best performer of the night, made a jump shot to re-gain the lead for WVU with 40 seconds to play.
Needing a stop, and desperately trying to slow down the Cowboys’ three-point attack, the Mountaineers forced a missed jumper from Kendall Smith. The Mountaineers could not secure the defensive rebound, and Lindy Waters III made a huge corner three-pointer to give Oklahoma State an 86-85 lead.
WVU had time to take the lead back, but a James Beetle-Bolden three-pointer fell short. The rebound was long and ended up with the Cowboys, which led to a runout dunk with four seconds to go. Jevon Carter threw up a prayer at the buzzer, but it didn’t fall and Oklahoma State escaped Morgantown with another victory.
Tonight, West Virginia and Oklahoma State are set to tip off at 9 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN2.