No. 20 West Virginia Bounced in Austin as Road Struggles Continue
Austin, TX – The No. 20 West Virginia Mountaineers (19-9, 7-8) was stymied on the road again in a 67-57 loss to the Texas Longhorns (17-11, 7-8) on Monday night.
West Virginia and Texas combined for a total five points in the first four minutes of the game before Andrew Jones heated up hitting three consecutive threes and adding a layup for a quick 11 points as Texas went on a 13-0 run and took a 17-6 lead.
The Mountaineers responded with a 10-run behind a pair of threes from Sean McNeil and an offensive putback from Emmitt Matthews Jr to get back within one, but Matt Coleman III answered with a three and Andrew Jones hit his fourth three of the first half to bookend an 8-0 run as Texas went back up nine.
Sean McNeil ended the run with a three off the left wing to keep West Virginia within striking distance as he led the Mountaineers with nine points at the half while Andrew Jones went for 16 and Courtney Ramey went for 11.
West Virginia quickly cut it to four out of the break after Derek Culver found a cutting Jermaine Haley for the lay in. However, the barrage of the threes from the Longhorns kept the Mountaineers at arm’s length leading 46-37.
The Mountaineers never got within two possessions and for two glaring reasons. The Mountaineers shot 10-21 from the free throw line on the night, including missing the front end of one and ones. The other issue was rebounding. After outrebounding Texas by 28 in the first meeting, West Virginia and Texas both grabbed 29 rebounds on the night.
Texas couldn’t miss from three-point range even with a defender on them and hit some from NBA depth and the Mountaineers went 1-7 from the field in the final minutes as the Longhorns maintained a three-possession advantage to win by ten, 67-57.
“You can’t go 10-21 from the foul line and if you add the missed front ends of the one and ones it was more like 10-30. You can’t continue to shoot 20% from three. You can’t continue to miss shots two feet from the basket, and we did all that," said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins. “We haven’t been good defensively, but if you hold people to 60 points you ought to win. I mean, if you’re any good you should win. We’re holding people to right about that, and we can’t score more than that.”
After McNeil hit all three of his attempts from behind the arc in the first half, he was limited to just two field goal attempts, making one, and hit a pair of free throws for 13 points. As a team, the Mountaineers only attempted three from deep.
“We couldn’t get a good one off,” said Huggins. When they press up on you and you can’t drive it by them, what are you going to do? And we were screening. We ran stuff that we always got shots off of, we didn’t do a good job of screening.”
West Virginia is back inside the comfy confines of the WVU Coliseum Saturday to face the Oklahoma Sooners at 4:00 pm on ESPN2.