STILLWATER, Okla. -- Had the pilot who flew the chartered jet here Friday looked out into the horizon and seen the future, he could have told West Virginia's basketball team that a day later it would get perhaps the most certain performance of Eron Harris' career.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma State's All-American, Marcus Smart, would make just one basket and the Big 12's leading 3-point shooter, Phil Forte, would miss 8 of 9 3-point attempts.
And the Mountaineers would have never believed the part when they were told they'd still lose.
The 11th-ranked Cowboys defeated WVU, 81-75, to give the Mountaineers their 16th straight loss to a ranked team Saturday while Smart was 1-for-7 for four points and Forte, who'd made half of his 3-point shots this season, went 1-for-9. WVU was undone by LeBryan Nash's career-high 28 points and foul trouble that swallowed up just about everyone and saw Harris and three others foul out amid the 32 whistles and 34 free throws for the Cowboys.
Oklahoma State improved to 8-0 in the past two seasons when Smart, the Big 12's preseason player of the year, scores fewer than 10 points with a win before a crowd of 10,011 at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
The Mountaineers led by seven points in the first half and trailed by seven at halftime. They opened the second half with an 11-2 run, would lead by as many as three points and trail by as many as nine in the second half and still had a chance to tie the score in the final minute.
"We kind let it get away from us at the end of the first half, but we came back and got back in the game," WVU coach Bob Huggins said. "But it's hard when we lose Eron. It's hard when we lose Eron and he gets 21 points in 21 minutes."
Harris made 6 of 7 3-point shots and keyed the rally to start the second half, but played only eight minutes after halftime and fouled out with 3:35 to play.
"I think that this game was probably the most confidence I've ever played with this season and probably ever," he said.
Juwan Staten played 40 minutes and scored 19 points. He was the only other WVU player in double figures -- and the Mountaineers needed to use 11 players in the game, including walk-ons Tyrone Hughes and Chase Connor. Terry Henderson followed his career-high 28 points Wednesday with only eight on 1-for-10 shooting. Devin Williams had six points and nine rebounds. Fellow freshman Nathan Adrian had seven points and six rebounds and the chance to tie the score late, but his 3 missed.
Harris, Williams, Adrian and Gary Browne all fouled out. Smart and Nash fouled out for Oklahoma State.
The Mountaineers (11-9, 3-4 Big 12) shot 36.8 percent in the game and were outscored 32-12 in the paint. Fifteen turnovers led to 23 points for Oklahoma State, which won two games against WVU this season by a combined seven points.
"That's frustrating, but we've got to learn from every game we lose because of the little, small details that we mess up," Harris said. "We'd be insane if we don't continue to learn from them."
Smart didn't make a shot for the first 35 minutes and only played 25 minutes. Forte ended up with 13 points, thanks to making all eight for his free throw attempts, and added five steals. Markel Brown, whose 3 with 15 seconds left beat WVU at the Coliseum earlier this month, had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Brian Williams had 10 points and six rebounds and Stevie Clark made two 3s on the way to 10 points.
Six of WVU's nine losses this season are by five, seven, nine, three, one and six points.
"Something that's definitely been our Achilles' heel this year is finishing games," Staten said. "I think it got a little rough when we started getting people fouled out and we had players who are not usually put in those situations. That hurt us a little bit.