Moussa Cisse had an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double for Oklahoma State as the center led an inside domination of the West Virginia men’s basketball team, leading the Cowboys to an 81-58 victory over the Mountaineers in Stillwater on Saturday.
WVU’s offense had a decent start, fighting for the lead and shooting around 50 percent for the first 15 minutes of the contest. The Mountaineers went ice cold in the final four-and-a-half minutes of the first half, however, and made just one of 19 shots over a 12-minute span.
That allowed Oklahoma State to get its first 20-point lead of the game.
“We’ve had a hard time passing the ball all year,” Huggins said. “We weren’t making any shots….We weren’t making any shots in practice, I watched in warm-ups and we weren’t making any shots.”
By the end of the game, WVU had made just 31.7 percent of its shots, and 4 of its 18 layups. It also gave up 12 turnovers, which turned into 11 Cowboy points.
Cisse’s 10 rebounds led a dominating performance on the glass. Oklahoma State actually doubled West Virginia’s rebounding total, snagged 48 boards to WVU’s 24.
“We don’t have the guy that can drive the ball and absorb contact and score,” Huggins said. “We don’t have the guy that can just big boy you, you know, just grab it and bang ya, and bounce it…and score the ball. We don’t have those guys. We bang somebody one time, and we lose the ball.”
Gabe Osabuohien led the Mountaineers in the rebounding column with four rebounds. Dimon Carrigan and Taz Sherman followed with three each, then a quartet of Mountaineers added a pair.
On the other hand, seven Cowboys grabbed four or more rebounds.
Osabuohien added one point from the free throw line in the first half, but that was his only offensive contribution of the game. He was eventually tossed from the contest after receiving two technical fouls during one dead ball sequence.
Malik Curry led the Mountaineers with 13 points, making five of his eight shots from the field in 19 minutes on the floor. Sean McNeil and Taz Sherman added 12 points each, but Sherman struggled to put the ball in the hoop, making 25 percent from the field. McNeil was 3-for-5, all of his field goals coming from behind the three-point arc.
Avery Anderson III tied Cisse with a game-high 18 points, earning 10 of them from the free throw line. He also grabbed seven rebounds to trail Cisse in that category.
Oklahoma State scored 12 layups in the contest and amassed 40 points in the paint. That trumped WVU’s defensive strategy, which was to keep the Cowboys on the outside.
“Our goal was to make them a jump-shooting team…but they were mostly layups or around the basket,” Curry said.
WVU earns its first loss after it snapped its seven-game losing streak on Tuesday. It has now lost eight of its last nine games.
“Every game you lose, it’s rough on us. Especially the coach staff is not used to losing, and we’re not used to losing,” Curry said. “Every loss, it weighs on us, especially just coming off a win. We were just all happy and enjoying life, but when you lose, it’s like, you’ve got to lock back in.”
The loss slides the Mountaineers to 3-8 in the Big 12, tying them with Oklahoma State for the bottom spot in the league. They face Kansas State on the road on Monday, the first of their seven remaining games.
“If we play hard, pay attention to scout, and stop teams from doing what they do best, I feel like we’ll be good,” Curry said. “But I think it starts with us as players listening to the coaching staff and just try to execute offensively and get stops defensively.”
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.