Oscar Tshiebwe’s seventh double-double of the season headlined No. 14 West Virginia’s stat line as the Mountaineers made a dominating bounce-back win over Texas, 97-59.
Tshiebwe finished the contest with 13 points and 11 rebounds, with an assist and a block to go along with it. His scoring total led the way for WVU, matching that of his fellow big man, Derek Culver.
After a short back-and-forth in the first minutes, West Virginia took over the game with a 28-2 run. It lasted 6 minutes and 53 seconds, including a stretch of 20 unanswered points. The run was sparked by strong defensive play, with 18 of WVU’s first-half points coming off 17 forced turnovers.
“Defense is obviously a big thing for us and everybody knows it, but we were just getting stops and getting to the ball,” said Emmitt Matthews Jr.
The first half was a group effort, with six Mountaineers scoring at least 7 points — while Matthews Jr. and Jermaine Haley led the way with 8 for the half.
Overall, the first half was among the most efficient the team played all year offensively, averaging over 1.5 points every possession. That would position the Mountaineers for a 25-point lead at halftime.
The second half was not much different from the first, however West Virginia got a big boost from the guards on their bench. Miles McBride added 9 points with a three-pointer, while Logan Routt and Taz Sherman added 8 and 7 respectively.
West Virginia dominated the boards, out-rebounding the Longhorns 53-25. Tshiebwe’s double-digit total was the pacemaker while Culver added another 8 himself.
“We rebounded it much better than what we have rebounded it,” said WVU coach Bob Huggins. “It’s so mental. If you come in and you’re excited and you know you’re prepared and you know what you have to do, you’re so much more likely to have success.”
As the game came to a close, a trio of freshmen would make a big impact on the highlight reel. It started with McBride, who made a wide-open drive to the hoop for a slam. Minutes later, Tshiebwe would be the sole man to chase a loose ball all the way down to the Mountaineers’ basket, getting himself a poster dunk to punctuate it.
The biggest highlight, though, came at the very end. Fans chanted their desire to see Spencer Macke make an appearance in the matchup with more than seven minutes to go, and they got their wish soon after. He ended the game on a high note for West Virginia, nailing his first career three-pointer.
Jase Febres was the high scorer for Texas with 18 points, while Matt Coleman III wasn’t far behind with 15.
WVU’s Jordan McCabe made his season-high total with 10 points on 57 percent shooting.
Huggins had a pretty simple explanation for his team’s bounce-back victory.
“We made shots, and we’re coming off being embarassed,” he said.
After this victory, the Mountaineers take a one-game break from their normal Big 12 opponents to square off against Missouri in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday. The action tips off at noon.