The West Virginia University Basketball Team returns to the Coliseum Saturday afternoon to take on the No. 14 Oklahoma State Cowboys. The Mountaineers are currently on a nine-game losing streak to ranked opponents and are desperately looking for the key win this season to put on their March resume.
In their last game Monday night, West Virginia (13-13, 6-7) was run off of the court by Kansas State. The final score showed WVU only lost by 10, but the game was completely dominated by the Wildcats.
For Oklahoma State (19-6, 9-4), they were on an impressive seven-game winning streak before falling to Kansas at home Wednesday night in double overtime. They are looking to keep up the momentum heading towards the end of the regular season.
The Cowboys are one of the better scoring teams the Mountaineers have faced in the Big 12 this year. They are averaging 72.7 points per game, 62nd nationally. One area West Virginia has struggled this year is getting in foul trouble. OSU has the ability to knock down their free throws at a high rate, shooting 73.8% as a team from the line.
Junior guard Markel Brown leads Oklahoma State in scoring with 15.9 points per game. He is also lethal from beyond the arc, shooting 39% from three. Marcus Smart (15.0), Le'Bryan Nash (13.1) and Phil Forte (11.3) are also averaging in double-figures. In comparison, WVU does not have a player averaging double-digits, while OSU has four. Philip Jurick is leading the Cowboys in rebounding, pulling down 6.5 per game.
Aaric Murray is still the leading scorer (9.1) and rebounder (6.5) for West Virginia. In order for the Mountaineers to stay with the Cowboys, they need to win the rebounding advantage. If they can get second chance opportunities, they will have an opportunity at the upset.
In the first meeting this season, West Virginia got off to a fast start in the first half only to see their double-digit lead turn into a double-digit loss by the game's end. Phil Forte came off of the bench for the Cowboys to score 26 points.
The game is this Saturday at 2:00 p.m. ET and will be aired on ESPN2.