The West Virginia Mountaineers dropped their second straight game Monday night at the WVU Coliseum. The Texas Longhorns beat the Mountaineers 80-69.
On the Mountaineers' first possession Terry Henderson got things going by knocking down a three pointer but Texas answered with three quick scores of their own. Texas led 6-3 with 17:33 on the clock.
West Virginia (10-7) reclaimed the lead after another jumper by Henderson and two quick scores from Eron Harris. The Mountaineers went up by one, 9-8 with 16:07 remaining in the first half.
Texas' Cameron Ridley took control of the rebounds allowing the Longhorns to get second chances on the offensive side. Texas led 17-16 after Martez Walker buried a three near the corner with 11:11 left to play in the first half.
"Cameron Ridley surprised me on how he got off the ground and got rebounds and put-backs," said Harris. "Some of their guys surprised me, hitting shots I didn't think they'd hit."
"We tried to stay between them and the basket, we couldn't do it," said head coach Bob Huggins. "I can't say we didn't play hard because we did until the very end."
The Longhorns (13-4) continued to add to their lead after a breakdown in West Virginia's defense. A wide open dunk for Connor Lambert put the Longhorns up 23-18 with 8:30 left in the first half.
Sloppy play by the Mountaineers late in the first half allowed Texas to take advantage. Four turnovers by West Virginia and three steals from Texas found the Longhorns up 29-23 with 5:03 left in the first half.
Along with the sloppy play the Mountaineers were unable to win the battle on the boards; Texas out rebounded West Virginia 24-16 in the first half, as a 10-0 Longhorn run granted Texas a 41-27 lead at the half.
Juwan Staten knocked down a corner shot to start the second half but Javan Felix answered for the Longhorns by banking in a floater. Texas maintained their lead over West Virginia 45-29 early in the second half.
Staten finished the night with 23 points while Henderson scored 16 and Remi Dibo contributed 10.
The Mountaineers started to chip away at the deficit. A foul shot from Henderson and jumpers by Dibo and Staten narrowed the gap to 50-36 with 14:55 remaining in the game.
The Mountaineers were unable to get anything going midway through the second half. Texas began to put things out of reach. It wasn't until Nathan Adrian hit a shot from behind the arc did the Mountaineers find some life. West Virginia trailed 61-45 with 8:32 left to play.
Late in the second half the Mountaineers began to find a little groove. A three from Dibo and a jumper by Staten brought the Mountaineers closer. Texas led 75-62 with 2:55 left in the game.
"We're not going to give up," Harris said. "If someone believes that this is the end of the world, they're wrong.
It was Texas' inside game that gave West Virginia issues all game long. Texas outrebounded the Mountaineers 49-30 while scoring 34 of their points from inside the lane.
"We didn't get any rebounds, we didn't stop anyone on defense," said Henderson. "They really rebounded the ball well. Playing against a team that rebounded like that, it was a shock. I feel like we got bullied."
Felix led the Longhorns in scoring with 19 while Ridley's play inside the paint allowed him to score 12 on the night.
A cold shooting night for the Mountaineers throttled any attempt at a comeback. The Mountaineers shot a mere 26-69 (37.7 percent) from the field and could only muscle up 4-25 (16 percent) from beyond the arc.
"Did you ever go 4-for-25? It drains your energy," said Huggins. "We didn't make shots. If you make shots you play harder, and if you don't you put your head down. We just didn't make them."
The Longhorns shot 29-55 (52.7 percent) from the field, 4-9 (44.4 percent) from three-point land and 18-23 (78.3 percent) from the free throw line.
"Texas came in here and wanted it more from the start," Staten said. "They pretty much got a lead and we trailed the whole game."
The Longhorn's strong inside presence proved to be too much for the Mountaineers. Texas defeated West Virginia 80-69.