MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Devin Williams knows what’s next, and he’s not backing down.
“(Kansas) is No. 1. But what does that mean? What if we were put in the Top 10 when we first started? Where would we be? There’s nothing we can do about that number they got,” the West Virginia post player said.
Jonathan Holton scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds Saturday as No. 17 West Virginia beat Oklahoma State 77-60 in its first Big 12 home game this season.
West Virginia won its seventh straight heading into a matchup against No. 1 Kansas on Tuesday night in the WVU Coliseum. The Mountaineers won 62-61 last season at Morgantown.
“We had to put ourselves in the Top 25,” Williams said. “At the end of the day, we should feel disrespected because we’re just as good as anybody in the country — starting five to bench. We can play with anybody in the country.”
Jevon Carter scored 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting (4 of 8 from beyond the 3-point line) to lead the Mountaineers ( 14-1, 3-0) in scoring. Williams added 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
Oklahoma State (9-6, 1-2) was led by Jawun Evans (13). Jeff Newberry had 12 points and Jeffrey Carroll had 10.
West Virginia held a 40-33 advantage in rebounding. The difference was particularly true on the offensive backboards. WVU, which leads the nation in offensive rebounding, had an 18-8 edge.
“We obviously have been disappointed in our rebounds last game,” said Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford. “We talked a lot about it, did drills and did a lot of other stuff. Sometimes it just boils down to desire. Sometimes it just boils down to toughness.”
The Cowboys cut an eight-point lead to 3 with 9:18 left in the first half.
Then the Mountaineers went on a 3-point spree. When the barrage was over, the Mountaineers sported a 31-18 lead with 5:35 until intermission.
Williams got a three-point play, then Carter, Tarik Phillip and Holton made long-range 3s.
Oklahoma State: coming its average score was 71-63. The Cowboys were statistically the second best Big 12 defensively.
West Virginia: Coming into the game, the Mountaineers’ turnover margin was a robust plus-6.29. … West Virginia’s average final score entering the game was 87-64. The Mountaineers were plus-40 in margin of victory. … WVU was coming off an exhaustive six-day roadtrip at Virginia Tech, Kansas State and TCU. … With a win, Bob Huggins moved into a tie with coach Lou Henson for the 11th place all-time in wins (779). Huggins is 779-313 overall in his 34th season of coaching.
Jaysean Paige was averaging 19.8 points per game over the four games coming in. That average included a career high 25 vs. Kansas State on Jan. 2. He was shooting 52.4 percent in that span.
After starting 49 consecutive games, West Virginia sophomore Daxter Miles Jr. was on the bench. In his place came Paige. Huggins said Miles Jr., injured an ankle two days ago.
West Virginia: hosts No. 1 Kansas on Tuesday. If the Jayhawks can get by Texas Tech on Saturday night, they will become just the sixth No. 1 team to play at the WVU Coliseum (1970).
Oklahoma State: hosts archrival Oklahoma on Wednesday.