The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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January 25, 2014

WVU falls to No. 11 Oklahoma State 81-75

STILLWATER, Okla. — LeBryan Nash scored a career-high 29 points and had nine rebounds to help No. 11 Oklahoma State beat West Virginia 81-75 on Saturday.

Nash was 10 of 13 from the field for the Cowboys (16-3, 4-2 Big 12), who swept the season series with the Mountaineers.

Markel Brown had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Phil Forte added 13 points for Oklahoma State, which now can focus on a showdown at No. 25 Oklahoma on Monday.

The Cowboys won despite a subpar performance from star guard Marcus Smart. The sophomore scored a season-low five points on 1-for-7 shooting and played just 25 minutes before fouling out.

Eron Harris scored 21 points and Juwan Staten added 19 for the Mountaineers (11-9, 3-4), who have lost four of five.

Oklahoma State made just 4 of 24 3-point attempts and was outrebounded 41-35, but held the Mountaineers to 37 percent shooting.

The Cowboys had a week to stew over their loss at No. 8 Kansas the previous Saturday, but they still came out flat against the Mountaineers. Oklahoma State missed its first four shots as West Virginia opened a 9-4 lead.

Smart scored his first points on two free throws with 10:42 left in the first half.

West Virginia led 25-18 in the first half when Smart picked up his second foul, but Oklahoma State rallied without him. A three-point play by Nash sparked a run, and the Cowboys tied the game at 26 on two free throws by Brown with 6:15 left in the first half. Another three-point play by Nash gave Oklahoma State the lead with 3:45 left in the first half.

The Cowboys finished the half with a flurry. Brown threw down a monster two-handed putback dunk with 18 seconds left. Forte then stole the ball and, while lying on the ground under pressure, found Nash under the basket for a thunderous reverse jam to give the Cowboys a 42-35 lead. Nash had 18 points and seven rebounds in the first half.

Harris picked up his fourth foul with just over 15 minutes remaining and West Virginia leading 46-44.

Brown’s near 360-degree dunk ignited the crowd and tied the score with just under 14 minutes remaining, but West Virginia didn’t allow Oklahoma State to gain momentum.

Smart found Nash with a behind-the-head pass for a basket and a foul. Nash’s free throw gave Oklahoma State a 66-60 lead with 7:11 to play.

Harris made a 3-pointer to cut Oklahoma State’s lead to 70-67, but on OSU’s next possession, Brown attacked the rim and scored while drawing Harris’ fifth foul with 3:35 to go. A three-point play by Brian Williams with 2:01 remaining gave the Cowboys a 75-67 lead.

Nash fouled out with 1:40 to go, and West Virginia rallied one last time. The Mountaineers could have tied it in the final minute, but Nathan Adrian missed a 3-pointer. Forte made 6 of 6 free throws in the final 37 seconds to seal the win for the Cowboys.

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