Ryan Petrovich, MORGANTOWN – West Virginia took an early exit from the Big 12 Tournament Thursday night. The Texas Longhorns manhandled the Mountaineers, beating them 66-49.
The Longhorns were able to jump out to an early 5-0 lead as Javan Felix fond a quick lay up while Jonathan Homes knocked down a three. Texas led West Virginia with 17:55 to go in the first half.
A very cold start for the Mountaineers led to a 10-0 run by the Longhorns. West Virginia was unable to get anything going on both sides of the ball.
"Well, I certainly didn't see it coming. I thought we practiced ‑‑ we had three pretty enthusiastic days of practice," said head coach Bob Huggins. "When you're as reliant as we are on making jump shots and you don't make jump shots, it becomes extremely difficult. We can't score close."
Brandon Watkins finally got the Mountaineers on the board after banking home a midrange jumper. It took nearly five minutes before West Virginia was able to find the basket.
"I just thought that we would be able to hit shots during the game," said Watkins. "I mean, every game you can't just expect to come out and make a lot of shots. Sometimes you have down games and you have good games."
Juwan Staten came up with a steal leading to a lay in at the other end. The Mountaineer attempted to find some momentum but Texas still led West Virginia 23-8 with 7:18 remaining in the first half.
West Virginia with 6:09 remaining in the first half had more fouls, seven, than they did field goals, four.
The Mountaineers scored a mere 14 points going into halftime. West Virginia shot 6-33 from the field in the first half. Texas led West Virginia 35-14 at the half.
"They've got a long back line in the zone, and they deflected a lot of passes," said Terry Henderson. "We did a poor job of squaring up and really looking at the floor before we threw the ball. I think we waited too late to try and flash in the middle to get some easy shots or some easy ball movement."
Remi Dibo scored 4 quick points for the Mountaineers as his baskets gave a much-needed spark to the Mountaineers' offense. However the Longhorns continued to roll as Isaiah Taylor hit a jumper. Texas led West Virginia 39-18 early in the second half.
The Mountaineers shot 20-66 (30 percent) from the floor, 6-20 (30 percent) from beyond the arc as Watkins led West Virginia in scoring with 10 points.
The Longhorns went 22-45 (49 percent) from the field and 7-17 (65 percent) from three-point land. Holmes led the Longhorns in scoring with 20 points while Felix followed him with 16.
Nathan Adrian hit West Virginia's first three of the night coming with 15:22 remaining in the second half. The Mountaineers still trailed the Longhorns by 24, 46-22.
Staten left the game for the Mountaineers after rolling his ankle on a fast break. The first-team all Big 12 point guard did not return following the injury.
Eron Harris found his first point of the game as he knocked down a three but just as soon as he found points he found his fifth foul. Harris fouled out of the contest with just those three points. Texas remained ahead leafing West Virginia 58-31 with 5:09 remaining in the game.
Like Staten, West Virginia was unable to comeback either. It was all Texas, all game. The Longhorns soared past the Mountaineers, 66-49.