Oklahoma State Owns Coliseum
MORGANTOWN — The Coliseum at West Virginia University has become recognized as one of the toughest venues in the country for opposing teams to win a game.
Coming into the season veteran coach Bob Huggins and his Mountaineers had enjoyed a victory in 83 of their last 117 conference games (including the old Big East days).
That has not been a problem, however, for Oklahoma State and coach Mike Boynton, who made it three years in a row with an 85-77 victory Saturday.
“No,” Boynton responded when asked if he and his Cowboys had figured out a way to get around WVU’s success at home. “I didn’t have it figured out. I just think the guys who come in here feel good because they have had some success.”
One of those was freshman guard Isaac Kikekele, who tallied a team-high 23 points in his first visit to Morgantown.
“I was definitely having fun,” said Kikekele, who added nine rebounds and three assists to his totals. “Everybody wants to come in here and win.”
The loss dropped WVU to 8-8 overall and 0-4 in Big 12 play – the first time that has happened since the school joined the league in 2012.
“We just have too many spurts where we can’t score,” Huggins said. “And, when our defense isn’t helping us out by creating some turnovers for easy buckets, we are going to continue to struggle.”
WVU, which travels to TCU for a 7 p.m. contest Wednesday, placed four players in double figures, led by James ‘Beetle’ Bolden’s career-high 31. Freshman Derek Culver continued to produce double-doubles on a regular basis, finishing with 15 points and as many rebounds, while Lamont West chipped in 13 points and Jermaine Haley added 10.
Central Catholic’s Chase Harler suffered through a poor shooting night, making only 1 of 7 shots (0 of 5 on 3s) and finishing with two points while Cameron’s Logan Routt failed to score in six minutes of action.
“The personnel is different,” Boynton said. “I don’t know a ton of West Virginia history, but I don’t think you’d find a better player than Jevon (Carter).
“But it won’t be long before he (Huggins) gets it going again. He’s a Hall of Fame coach and he’s been doing it for a long time. Fans just need to trust that he will get it all worked out.”
Joining Likekele in double figures for the Cowboys was Cameron McGriff (16), Kentrevios Jones (15) and Thomas Dziagwa (11).
Dziagwa is a name well known in the Mountain State. His father, Don, played at Marshall University before coaching at Parkersburg Catholic, Wheeling Central Catholic and St. Marys.
The first 20 minutes was a mixture of excellent free-throw shooting (11-for-11) and horrible 3-point shooting (1-for-14) for WVU.
Conversely, OSU made half of its 12 first-half 3s – a trio by Dziagwa, who went 3-for-3 from long range – to take a 39-28 lead into the locker rooms at the intermission.