Ability to make 3-pointers lifts Oklahoma State past West Virginia

MORGANTOWN — On paper, Oklahoma State only made two more 3-pointers than West Virginia on Saturday afternoon. In person, the difference felt more like a gulf in the Cowboys’ 85-77 victory.

Oklahoma State’s late first-half flourish behind the arc helped the Cowboys pad a lead that West Virginia could never chip into. The Cowboys were 6 of 12 from 3-point range in the first half, including a string of three in a row in a 1-minute, 34-second span late in the half. Oklahoma State came into the game shooting 37.6 percent from long distance, but only 31 percent in Big 12 play.

West Virginia, on the other hand, was colder than the wintry conditions outside of WVU Coliseum. The Mountaineers started the game 1 for 14 from long range.

Oklahoma State didn’t keep it up in the second half, only attempting five 3-pointers. But coach Mike Boynton said that the threat of the 3 allowed the Cowboys to create scoring opportunities closer to the basket.

“It was big for us to make some outside shots because they make it hard for you to make easy shots around the basket with so much athleticism and length,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton said. “If you don’t make a few early, you get tentative and start to drive into traffic. When you’re able to make some shots, you extend their defense and you’re able to drive.”

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins felt the easy buckets were not a result of being spread out.

“Really, them spreading us didn’t hurt us as much as it hurts most people,” Huggins said. “They didn’t back-cut us … but they have a lot of skill.”

West Virginia ended up shooting 5 of 15 from 3-point range in the second half with James “Beetle” Bolden providing all but one of the makes.

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