Mountaineers Look for Winning Streak Against Texas - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Mountaineers Look for Winning Streak Against Texas

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MORGANTOWN -

The team that yielded West Virginia its first Big 12 win is readying for a rematch as the Mountaineers host Texas on Monday night.

In one of the uglier games you can hope to have seen, the two teams traded punches, or at least a few shoves, for much of the contest as neither side looked overly interested in winning.

With just over three minutes left, though, the Longhorns held a 10-point lead and Bob Huggins' group looked ready to fall to 0-2 in the conference.

That's when Kevin Noreen, Jabarie Hinds, Gary Browne and Eron Harris stepped up and caught fire, sending the game to overtime, where WVU would eventually pull out the victory.

Fast forward three weeks and West Virginia (9-11, 3-5) is looking for a much-improved effort early on to take out Texas (10-11, 2-6) without the same struggle that was on display back in January.

It is difficult to predict exactly what the Mountaineers may bring to the fight in their second-straight Big Monday matchup after falling to Kansas a week ago and breezing past Texas Tech on Saturday. The quick turnaround could do a toll on WVU, but Texas is on the same schedule and is a weak opponent.

West Virginia's three Big 12 victories have come against the only three teams positioned lower than the Mountaineers in the conference standings.

With the exception of Baylor, which WVU has yet to play, no team ranked ahead of Huggins and company has fallen when facing the new league addition.

The home team may have a better idea of how to scout against some of these opponents now that they have squared off once, but the same likely cannot be said about the opposition's view of West Virginia.

After the 16-point win over the Red Raiders, Huggins admitted it almost works in his team's advantage that they've lacked a real identity in their search for answers.

"They [Texas Tech] were trying to figure out what we were doing, which nobody can figure out because we have no idea what we're doing. It is hard to figure out," Huggins said.

Texas has been similarly perplexing with a low scoring average and a poor shooting percentage – though not nearly as poor as WVU's – in piling up 11 losses.

Coach Rick Barnes only has wins in the Big 12 over Texas Tech and TCU, with the loss to WVU the only game standing between those teams switching spots in the conference standings.

The Longhorns rely greatly on sophomore guard Sheldon McClellan, who averages 14.8 points per game while adding 4.1 rebounds. He was quiet the last time he faced WVU, just as most players were, finishing with just nine points on two made shots in 37 minutes.

He presents a real challenge to West Virginia's guards, but he is no real threat from the perimeter.

Jonathan Holmes, a 6-foot-7 forward, cleans up the boards better than anyone in a gold and blue uniform, averaging 7.1 rebounds per game to go along with 7.7 points. He came one rebound shy of a double-double against the Mountaineers' bigs a month ago.

West Virginia started that game 0-for-14 from 3-point range before finally hitting one in the waning moments of regulation. But in their last outing against Texas Tech, the Mountaineers made 10 of their 18 shots from behind the arc. The game becomes much easier when deep attempts like that are falling.

Getting a fourth conference win over another poor team won't do anything for a postseason resume, but in WVU's current state, that resume is the last thing on anyone's mind. The Mountaineers need to string together a winning streak of any kind, regardless of the opponent.

That opportunity presents itself in another Big Monday contest at 9 p.m. from the WVU Coliseum.

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