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West Virginia loses to No. 11 Oklahoma St 73-72

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 11, 2014 at 7:07 pm •  Published: January 11, 2014
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia coach Bob Huggins is still trying to get a young roster to consistently play up to his expectations.

The Mountaineers couldn't hold onto a late lead Saturday, falling to No. 11 Oklahoma State 73-72.

West Virginia had four players score in double figures, but Huggins lamented the efforts of some of his youngest players for failing to help secure a win that would have put the Mountaineers (10-6, 2-1 Big 12) alone in first place in the conference.

"We're close," Huggins said. "Our problem is we have a whole bunch of freshmen who don't understand how hard you have to play for how long you have to play hard at this level. And when you stop playing hard, people take advantage of you."

The difference was Oklahoma State's Markel Brown hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 12 seconds left, while West Virginia's Juwan Staten missed a layup in the closing seconds.

"If the ball goes in, we're all sitting here talking how far we've come," Huggins said. "We got it at the rim with the guy who's finished more goals at the rim than the rest of our team put together. We got what we wanted."

Oklahoma State (14-2, 2-1) trailed for most of the game, but got solid efforts from its top two scorers in the final minutes.

"Proud of our team for just hanging in there," Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said. "There was moments where it could have got away from us, but we just kept hanging in there and then we made a few big plays. And obviously Markel hit a really big shot."

The game featured four of the top six scorers in the Big 12. Marcus Smart and Brown again came out on top over the Mountaineers' duo of Eron Harris and Staten after a Cowboys' season sweep a year ago.

Despite some foul trouble, Smart had 22 points and 13 rebounds to give him two straight double-doubles. He had none before a win over Texas on Wednesday. Brown finished with 12 points.

Staten finished with 20 points while Harris, the league's second-best scorer, was held to 11, more than seven below his average. Harris made just 3 of 11 shots.

"He didn't play very well," Huggins said. "I'm telling him every day, 'you have to work.'"

West Virginia's Terry Henderson scored a season-high 21 points, including a 3-pointer that put the Mountaineers ahead 72-70 with 1:14 remaining.

Freshman Nathan Adrian, who's been mired in a shooting slump, sent the home crowd into a frenzy with a block of Le'Bryan Nash's shot attempt with 1:04 to go and West Virginia got the ball back on the tie-up.

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