MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — An overtime defeat on New Year’s Eve handed West Virginia its third loss of the season.
Two trends that have hurt the Mountaineers at times this year did so once again in the six-point loss to Kansas State. Those trends are giving up a high number of points in the paint (48) on defense, and committing too many turnovers (20) on offense.
Another issue that contributed to the loss was a sub-par performance from the free throw line. West Virginia shot just 20 of 38 (52.6%) from the charity stripe against the Wildcats.
Bob Huggins’ group will get a shot at correcting those trends on Monday, as they continue their two-game road trip to begin Big 12 play. West Virginia (10-3, 0-1 Big 12) is in Stillwater to take on Oklahoma State (8-5, 0-1 Big 12) at 7 p.m. ET.
Both teams suffered losses in their first conference game of the year. While West Virginia was able to force overtime on the road, Oklahoma State surrendered the game-winning bucket with six seconds remaining in regulation against No. 4 Kansas.
WVU allowed an 11-point halftime lead to slip away. OK State, meanwhile, was unable to hold onto a 17-point halftime advantage.
Cowboys’ leading scorer Bryce Thompson enters Monday’s contest coming off his best performance of the year. Thompson scored a season-best 23 points against the Jayhawks. Twenty-one of those points came from beyond the arc as Thompson made seven 3-pointers.
Erik Stevenson did not enjoy as successful a performance, individually, in his first game in the Big 12. Stevenson was held to a season-low seven points, and fouled out of the contest during the overtime period.
Overall, West Virginia has been the better team offensively this season. WVU is averaging close to 10 points per game more than the Cowboys. Oklahoma State has the lowest shooting percentage in the conference.
Mike Boynton’s group, however, is one of the league’s top teams defensively.
Oklahoma State ranks first in the Big 12 in opponent shooting percentage (36.8) and blocked shots (5.23) per game, second in opponent 3-point percentage (28.4), and has the best rebounding margin (+7.2) of any team in the league.
Both teams struggle to hold onto the basketball. Oklahoma State has committed 20 more turnovers than its opposition this year.
Monday’s game, which begins at 7 p.m. ET, will be televised on ESPNU.