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West Virginia finishes in last place with loss to Oklahoma State

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If you’re a glass half-full person, you can take solace in the fact that West Virginia has a core of four or five guys that a team can be built around next season.

NCAA Basketball: West Virginia at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

With Saturday’s 85-77 loss to the Oklahoma State Cowboys (12-19, 5-13 Big 12), the West Virginia Mountaineer (12-19. 4-14 Big 12) finish tenth place in the Big 12 Conference final regular season standings.

The Cowboys held a 12 point lead in the first minute of the second half, thanks mostly in part to shooting 57% from the field in the first half, but West Virginia wasn’t ready to roll over and give up. The Mountaineers battled back to tie the game at 66-66 with 9:00 left in the game, but Oklahoma State persevered and closed the game out with a late 7-0 run.

Bob Huggins got solid performances from his starting five, with Derek Culver, Jermaine Haley and Lamont West all finishing with 16 points each. Culver recorded his eighth double-double of the season by adding 21 rebounds. Emmitt Matthews Jr. finished with 13 points, 5 rebounds. Jordan McCabe added 12 points and 5 assists.

Moving forward, that starting five — if Lamont West returns — should be the core for whatever Huggins has planned for an offseason rebuild. West Virginia has already signed five-star, McDonalds All-American center Oscar Tshiebwe and 6’2” point guard Miles McBride as part of the 2019 signing class, and is actively recruiting to fill the other holes left by the departure of James Bolden and Wesley Harris.

West Virginia will take on the No. 7 seed Oklahoma Sooners on Wednesday to open the Big 12 Conference Tournament. That game is scheduled for a 9:00PM EST tip and will be broadcast on ESPNU.