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West Virginia off to an 0-2 start in conference play following 61-54 loss to Texas

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Can we just clone Derek Culver?

NCAA Basketball: Lehigh at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

The West Virginia Mountaineers (8-6, 0-2) are off to an rough start in Big 12 Conference play after suffering a 61-54 loss to the Texas Longhorns (10-4, 2-0) Saturday night at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.

Much like their showing against the No. 11-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders this past Wednesday, the Mountaineers managed to hang around in a game that probably should’ve ended more heavily in Texas’ favor, but couldn’t get over the hump in the final minutes of the game to escape with the win.

Down four points with 2:25 remaining on the clock, Derek Culver fought for an offensive rebound on an missed three by Esa Ahmad and put the ball back up and in to put the Mountaineers within two.

On the other end of the floor and with the shot-clock running down on the Longhorns, Matt Coleman III drained a difficult step-back to put Texas back up by 5 points, stealing any momentum the Mountaineers had in their favor.

Culver led the Mountaineers with 17 points and 9 rebounds in 22 minutes and cemented himself as West Virginia’s most valuable asset — at least until Sagaba Konate returns from his knee injury. The 6’10” true freshman has been a breath of fresh air since returning from what amounted to be a nine game suspension to start the season.

Esa Ahmad and James Bolden added 10 and 13 points, respectively, with Ahmad adding 6 rebounds to his statline. Jordan McCabe followed with 7 points and 3 rebounds in 28 minutes off the bench.

West Virginia returns to action on Wednesday, January 9th when they take on the Kansas State Wildcats in Manhattan, Kansas in a game that is bound to be an adventure. That game tips off at 7:00PM and will be broadcast on ESPNU.