With time to add to their NCAA Tournament resumes quickly winding down, both West Virginia and Oklahoma State enter their Monday meeting in Morgantown, W.Va., in need of positive momentum.
Not long ago, both teams were trending the right way, but recent struggles have pushed them back toward the bubble.
The Cowboys (16-11, 7-7 Big 12) have dropped back-to-back games after winning their previous four.
Oklahoma State has particularly struggled defensively, after being one of the country’s better defensive teams for much of the season.
In losses to Kansas and TCU, the Cowboys allowed a combined 187 points and those opponents have shot a combined 60.7 percent from the floor. The games were their two worst defensive shooting percentage games of the season.
“Obviously, we’ve been a really good defensive team,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton said. “The last two games are not an indication that we’re still that.”
The Cowboys are coming off a 100-75 loss at TCU on Saturday.
Oklahoma State continues to miss Avery Anderson III, who hasn’t played since Feb. 1 and remains out after undergoing surgery on his wrist.
The Cowboys won the season’s first matchup between the teams, 67-60, on Jan. 2 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
West Virginia is coming off Saturday’s 78-72 home loss to Texas Tech that extended its losing streak to three after the Mountaineers won four of their previous five.
During the losing streak, West Virginia (15-12, 4-10) has averaged just 66.3 points per game.
Opponents have also shot 51.7 percent from behind the 3-point line during the losing streak.
“You can not talk to them, show them, drill them any more than we did that we need to win these games if you want to continue to play in the postseason,” a frustrated West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said after Saturday’s loss. “We can’t do it any more. What else do I do?”
In the first meeting with the Cowboys, Erik Stevenson led the Mountaineers with 17 points but was called for a technical foul after the last of his three 3-pointers and fouled out shortly after and Oklahoma State closed with a 13-5 run to win.
Stevenson is coming off a 27-point performance in Saturday’s loss.
–Field Level Media