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West Virginia opens conference play with loss to No. 17 ranked Texas

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The Mountaineers entered without their leading scorer and short-handed due to COVID-19 protocols

NCAA Basketball: West Virginia at Texas Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

The West Virginia Mountaineers (10-2, 0-1 Big 12) began 2022 and the Big 12 Conference slate with a 79-54 loss to the No. 17 ranked Texas Longhorns in Austin.

WVU entered the game without their leading scorer, Taz Sherman, as well as Gabe Osabuohien and freshman guard Kobe Johnson due to COVID-19 safety protocol, and were able to through the first ten minutes of the game, tying the game on three occasions before the lack of key players began to show.

Texas would go on a 10-0 run, opening up a 16 point lead over the Mountaineers with three minutes remaining in the half, and eventually led by 19 at halftime.

The Longhorns grew their lead to 28 points within the first seven minutes of the second half before the Mountaineers began chipping away at the lead.

Despite the attempt, West Virginia was unable to make up enough ground to get themselves back in the game before time expired.

Jalen Bridges led the Mountaineers with 18 points, six rebounds. Malik Curry chipped in 14 points off the bench, while Sean McNeil finished with 12 points. Dimon Carrigan pulled down nine rebounds, leading the Mountaineers on the boards.

With Tuesday’s matchup against TCU already postponed due to COVID-19 protocols within the Horned Frogs’ program, West Virginia is scheduled to return to action on Saturday, January 8th when the Kansas State Wildcats make the trip to Morgantown. Tip-off is currently set for 2:00 PM ET, with the game being broadcast exclusively on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.