West Virginia had hoped that their new style of play would negate the matchup advantages that Texas enjoyed in their three beatdowns of the Mountaineers last season. Unfortunately, tonight's game looked eerily similar to those contests from a year ago and #20 Texas (13-4) manhandled #16 West Virginia (15-3) on their way to a 77-50 victory on Saturday evening.
The first minute couldn't have started out any better for West Virginia and Jonathan Holton in particular. Holton nailed a corner three on the opening possession, and then the Mountaineer pressure kicked in early:
That slam gave the Mountaineers an early 5-0 lead, but WVU went cold after that and the fouls piled up. Texas scored the next 6 and was in the bonus with 14:12 left to go in the half.
Both teams were doing a lot of jawing in the game, with referee Steve Olson first calling a meeting to warn Devin Williams and Jonathan Holmes, and minutes later giving double technicals to Holmes and Jonathan Holton.
Texas had its way with West Virginia (sound familiar?) for the rest of the half, outrebounding WVU 23-14 and winning the turnover battle 10-8. WVU just had an impossible time trying to find holes in the Longhorns' zone. (Also sound familiar?) That, combined with the Mountaineers shooting only 28% and committing twice as many fouls (14-7) as Texas, resulted in a 37-23 Longhorn lead at the break.
West Virginia would show signs of making a run a couple times in the second half, but never enough to really make Texas nervous. Jevon Carter made 3 three pointers within 1:10 and cut the Texas lead to 11 eight minutes in. The Mountaineers trailed 60-47 with 9:04 to go when Devin Williams was called for a completely bogus offensive foul. Showing his frustration, Williams inexplicably dunked the ball before giving it to the ref and was quickly called for a technical (his 4th foul). By the 6 minute mark, both Williams and Jonathan Holton had fouled out of the game. The Longhorn domination continued and West Virginia left Austin with a deflating 27 point loss.
Texas outrebounded West Virginia 44-32 on the game and committed only 2 more (19-17) turnovers than the Mountaineers. The Longhorns finished the game shooting 42.9%, while the Mountaineers only shot 24.1%. West Virginia only made 13 field goals the ENTIRE GAME.
So here's what we know:
West Virginia beat Oklahoma by 21.
Oklahoma beat Texas by 21.
Texas beat West Virginia by 27.
Translation: We know nothing. It wouldn't be smart to overreact to this loss. Texas was, and still is, a brutal matchup for West Virginia. Also, it's going to be near impossible to get road wins in this conference anywhere outside of Fort Worth and Lubbock.
Juwan Staten struggled more tonight than at any point in the last 2 years. He finished with only 3 points on 1-7 shooting and 0 assists. West Virginia was led by Gary Browne, who actually played a really good game. Browne had 14 points and 3 steals. Jevon Carter's 3 threes in a 70 second span were his only points, but they were enough to be second on the team tonight. Jonathan Holton and Devin Williams both had 7.
Texas was led by Cameron Ridley with 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 blocks. That guy's eyes must light up when he sees the Mountaineers on the schedule. Jonathan Holmes added 16 with 11 of those coming from the line and 11 rebounds. Myles Turner added 16 points and 8 rebounds off the bench.
- Same starters as usual: Staten, Browne, Miles, Holton, Williams
- West Virginia's bench had 55 points against Oklahoma. Tonight against Texas they only added 19.
- Get used to all the fouls. With the way West Virginia plays, that's just going to be how it is. The two teams combined for 50 tonight.
- The Mountaineers broke out the black unis for the first time this season. Always a good look.
The Mountaineers next game will be next Saturday against TCU at the Coliseum. West Virginia defeated the Horned Frogs on January 3rd 78-67 with Juwan Staten sidelined with an illness. TCU picked up their first conference win earlier today with a 62-42 victory against Texas Tech. The game has been designated as "Family Day" and has been announced as a sellout. The game tips at 2:00 PM and will be televised on ESPNU and the WatchESPN app.