Cowboys and Mountaineers meet in Big 12 tilt

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Updated: 1/25 11:08 am

Stillwater, OK (SportsNetwork.com) - The 11th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys return home to Gallagher-Iba Arena on Saturday afternoon to do battle with the West Virginia Mountaineers in a Big 12 Conference showdown.

WVU had lost three straight games prior to its Wednesday night bout with Texas Tech, which it won, 87-81, to improve to 3-3 in Big 12 action. The Mountaineers are now 11-8 overall, but have gone just 2-3 on the road.

Oklahoma State has established itself as one of the nation's best teams this season at 15-3, but it has fallen back to Earth a bit in conference play at 3-2. The Cowboys suffered a tough loss at nationally-ranked Kansas last Saturday, 80-78, but now they return home to Stillwater, where they've gone unbeaten in nine games at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Oklahoma State defeated West Virginia twice during the 2012-13 season by a combined 30 points to extend its lead in the all-time series to 3-1.

The Mountaineers were able to outlast Texas Tech in a high-scoring affair earlier in the week by shooting a lofty 53.7 percent from the field, including 11-of-20 from beyond the arc, and they were also able to help themselves with an 18-of-21 showing from the free-throw line and by winning the rebounding (29-26) and turnover (10-7) battles. Terry Henderson shined in the victory with 28 points on 5-of-6 from 3-point range. Juwan Staten tallied 16 points, seven assists, five rebounds and three steals, while Eron Harris and Nathan Adrian poured in 15 and 10 points, respectively.

WVU's scoring offense has been outstanding this season, as it puts up 79.0 ppg on 45.7 percent from the field, including 38.5 percent from long distance. Harris scores 17.4 ppg and has a team-best 49 3-pointers. Staten is right on Harris' heels with 17.2 ppg and stuffs the stat sheet elsewhere with 6.1 rpg, 5.9 apg and 1.5 spg. Henderson (12.5 ppg) and Devin Williams (9.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg) are also regular contributors.

The Cowboys trailed Kansas by 17 points at intermission of their most recent game, and while they fought hard in the second half, eventually cutting their deficit to just one with six seconds left on a Phil Forte 3-pointer, they could not complete the comeback. They shot a disappointing 39.4 percent from the field, while allowing KU to net nearly 56 percent of its tries from the floor, but they nearly pulled off the comeback thanks to 12 3-pointers. Forte was 7-of-10 from beyond the arc off the bench for 23 points, while Marcus Smart nearly logged a triple-double with 16 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Markel Brown netted 15 points, while Kamari Murphy and Le'Bryan Nash rounded out the balanced effort with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Oklahoma State has proven itself as one of the nation's most well-rounded teams this season, outshooting opponents from the field, 48.4 percent to 38.5 percent, for an excellent +19.0 scoring margin. Smart sets the tone all over the floor with 17.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 4.4 apg and 2.6 spg, while shooting 44.7 percent from the field. Brown (16.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg), Nash (13.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Forte (12.6 ppg) are also in the midst of strong seasons.

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