"They've got a point guard who, when you're open, gets you the ball, which has a tendency, I think, to make guys play harder and work to get open harder. They're really good in transition and when you're open he throws you the ball. They share the ball."
Aaric Murray led the Mountaineers with 11 points. Kevin Noreen added nine points and seven rebounds. Matt Humphrey had 10 points and a pair of 3s off the bench. The Mountaineers had 17 turnovers and shot just 30 percent from the floor and the team's best two scorers the last six weeks, Deniz Kilicli and Eron Harris, combined for 11 points on 4-for-16 shooting.
Down just two at halftime, the Mountaineers helped OSU take over the game. The Cowboys started the made 8 of 11 shots to start the second half and finally got some help from Smart. He made his first basket at the 16:00 mark and then assisted for the first time a moment later for a 45-36 lead.
A 3 from Humphrey made it 45-41, but an offensive rebound rolled to Smart's feet in the paint and he managed to bounce his shot in off the glass while being fouled and then completed the three-point play. WVU turned the ball over on the next three possessions and OSU scored on the last two, the first an end-to-end layup by Smart before a dunk by Brown after WVU lost the ball against the pressure defense.
Down 52-41, the Mountaineers got within 10 points once, but Brown made a free throw and then Smart turned a WVU turnover into a layup to go ahead 12 points. Williams made a 3 for a 58-43 lead with 9:10 to go, not long before his tip-in.
"What's the difference between the first half and the second half most of this season?" Huggins said. "We don't compete as hard. What makes this a hard game is you've got to do the right thing all the time."
Everything was going right early and WVU's lead was 12-5 after Jabarie Hinds hit a floater on the baseline. That was his second basket of the first five minutes - or as many baskets as he had the first time the two teams met, though he wouldn't score again Saturday. Seconds into game, he simply stole the ball mid-dribble from Brown and dunked alone on the other end.
The Mountaineers started 5-for-8 from the floor and Kilicli, Hinds and Noreen all had a pair of scores, with Noreen making a 3-pointer and later a free throw when Ford was hit with a technical after Smart couldn't get out of the game before his third foul. The Cowboys started 2-for-2 from the floor, but had six turnovers.
"I was trying to pump up our team and I was trying to light a fire under them," Ford said. "I was over there acting like a fool. I was trying to do those things on purpose."
Once Ford lost control, so, too, did the Mountaineers. After starting 4-for-7, they missed 15 of 17 shots and went 8:05 between baskets. The Cowboys would outscore WVU 9-3 between its baskets and then go up 27-19 on a 3 from Williams to complete a 22-7 run.
"It wasn't the start we were looking for, but it might have been what we needed," said Ford, whose team played an overtime game last Saturday and a double-overtime game Wednesday. "In the locker room prior to the game, I didn't think we had the energy level we needed. We were trying to energize our guys and pump them up, but we came out a little soft, a little hesitant."