WVU puts 2-0 Big 12 mark on line against Cowboys - The Daily Athenaeum: Sports

WVU puts 2-0 Big 12 mark on line against Cowboys

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Posted: Friday, January 10, 2014 1:12 am

Coming off two straight road wins against TCU and Texas Tech to start conference play, West Virginia puts its 2-0 Big 12 record on the line at the WVU Coliseum against No. 11 Oklahoma State.

After winning 14 of their first 15 games, the Cowboys dropped their conference opener on the road against Kansas State.

Kansas State won eight straight games heading into its matchup with the Cowboys. The Wildcats rallied behind a raucous home crowd and upset then-No. 6 Oklahoma State.

“They had come off some very good wins against Gonzaga and against George Washington,” said Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford.

“They had an incredible crowd at the game. It was a great atmosphere. Their kids came up with some really big plays down the stretch. I was definitely impressed with their team.”

Led by sophomore guard Marcus Smart and junior forward Le’Bryan Nash, the Cowboys appear to be a serious contender for a Big 12 title this season.

Nash led the Cowboys with 20 points Saturday and contributed six rebounds in the Cowboys’ loss to the Wildcats.

“He had a lot of really good moments in the game. We put him in some situations and he really finished shots for us,” Ford said.

“Right now there’s no question, I think he’s put together some pretty good games. We like how Le’Bryan’s playing but we’re going to ask for even more out of him.”

The Cowboys got back on track Wednesday in an 87-74 home win against the Texas Longhorns. After holding a one-point lead at halftime, the Cowboys pulled away in the second half for their first Big 12 win of the season.

West Virginia enters Saturday’s contest No. 1 in the Big 12 standings. However, with a record of 10-5, the Mountaineers have work to do if they want to return to the NCAA Tournament.

Sophomore guard Eron Harris scored 22 points in the Mountaineers first Big 12 game of the season, a win on the road against TCU, then scored 18 points in West Virginia’s win against Texas Tech Monday.

“He’s been pretty good all year. I think he’s probably been as consistent in shooting the ball and getting to the foul line as anyone we have and anyone in the league,” said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins.

Junior point guard Juwan Staten played a big role in West Virginia’s first two conference wins. Staten scored the team’s final nine points in the win against TCU and led the team in scoring with 25 points against Texas Tech.

“He’s always been a talented guy. He’s kind of really just immersed himself in basketball and has studied film,” Huggins said.

“He’s a guy who really studies the opponents and has really studied our playbook. He is as knowledgeable about what we’re doing as anyone I’ve ever had.”

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