Austin, TX - The No. 13 West Virginia Mountaineers overcame a 19-point second half deficit against No. 12 Texas and hold on, 84-82.
Texas jumped out to a 15-8 lead heading into the first media timeout, and although West Virginia got within a possession several times, the Mountaineers were unable to overcome the Longhorns shooting 70.0% from the field, including hitting 7-12 from three-point range to take a 53-43 lead into halftime.
The Longhorns came out firing in the second half, hitting their first three threes to take a 19-point lead. Then, West Virginia orchestrated a 12-2 run behind a pair of threes from guard Sean McNeil.
West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins switched defenses to matchup zone from a man-to-man defense, and it paid dividends limiting the Longhorns to 37.9% from the field.
“We’ve been spending time on matchup for a while here – it's personnel driven, like a lot of things are… I think we did a better job personnel-wise getting people to do things they are good at,” said Huggins.
Later adding, “We did a better job of forcing into areas that we wanted them to go to. We did a better job of making rotations. We had three or four steals there during the one stretch where we made up some points, but a lot of it was those guys doing a much, much better job of guarding the ball.”
Texas went back up 15 after Matt Coleman III, and Courtney Ramey hit a three apiece, but West Virginia constructed another run, outscoring the Longhorns 13-2 to cut the deficit to four to force a Texas timeout with 9:10 remaining in the game.
“We made some shots - we did a better job defensively. I thought we really slowed them down in the second half with what we did defensively, and then we made shots. Sean came in and made some big shots for us – Taz hit some big shots – Deuce hit some shots, and I think we did a much better job limiting to one shot instead of giving them three and four like we did at times.”
West Virginia guard Miles “Deuce” McBride tied the game at 76 off an offensive rebound from Gabe Osabuohien in the midst of a 10-0 run and went on to take a five-point advantage after three-straight free throws from McNeil 81-76 with 3:52 left to play.
Ramey again came up big hitting back-to-back threes to put Texas up one, but West Virginia guard Taz Sherman got to work underneath, drew the foul, and hit both free throws.
McBride gave the Mountaineers an 84-82 edge going 1-2 from the free throw line. Texas went cold, shooting 0-5, including a last tip-in attempt as the Mountaineers held on 84-82.
“Obviously, giving up 50 points in the first half, it’s going to put you behind,” said McBride. “They’re a great team and got into foul trouble, and we just gutted it out. We came together - we didn’t separate - we comeback and win. When guys come together, we’re a problem.”
West Virginia is back in action Tuesday at 7:00 pm against TCU on ESPN2.
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