West Virginia Meets a Hot Texas Team

Christopher Hall

SeasonSummary_2020_MBB_atTexas

Austin, TX – The No. 20 West Virginia Mountaineers (19-8, 7-7) is wrapping a little two-game road trip with the Texas Longhorns (16-11, 6-8) Monday at 7:00 pm on ESPNU.

Texas lost four consecutive games shooting 33.3% from the floor but ended the skid with a win over TCU then beat Kansas State in Manhattan on Saturday hitting 51.0% from the field including 53.1% from three-point range in the two games.

Courtney Ramey (So. G 6-3, 185) and Andrew Jones (So. G 6-4, 185) have led the Longhorns, not only during the season but in the past two games. Jones has averaged 16.5 points in the last two games while Ramey is averaging 20.5 points during that span.

However, in the first matchup it was Jose Febres (Jr. G 6-5, 195) that led the team in scoring with 18 points and Matt Coleman (Jr. G 6-2, 185), who leads the team in scoring at 12.5 points per game, pitched in 15. Meanwhile, Jones and Ramey combined for 11 points as the Mountaineers dismantled Texas 97-59 in Morgantown.

West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins mixed up his rotation following the season’s first three-game skid. He opted to start Miles “Deuce McBride” (Fr. G 6-2, 196) and Taz Sherman (Jr. G 6-4, 185) over Jordan McCabe (So. 6-0, 188) and Derek Culver (So. F 6-10, 255). Sean McNeil (So. G 6-3, 207) came off the bench and got more playing time and as a result, he and McBride led the Mountaineers with 11 points apiece.

Derek Culver stepped up his defense in the second half and helped control the boards with 10 rebounds on the night.

Then, the Mountaineers were back on the road to meet TCU, a team they had previously beat in Morgantown by 32, suddenly found themselves the losers of five consecutive road games following a 67-60 overtime loss to the Horned Frogs. The loss also marked four out of the last five games on the losing end.

West Virginia shot just 40.3% on Saturday but the turning point was the second half. The Mountaineers held a 10-point lead in the first half by establishing themselves on the boards outrebounding the Horned Frogs 18-8.

The Mountaineers owned the offensive glass grabbing nine offensive rebounds and getting 10 second-chance points, but a couple of turnovers in the final minutes of the first half, opened the door for an 8-0 TCU run to cut it to two before the break.

TCU outrebounded the Mountaineers 24-14 in the second half and overtime. In the second half, West Virginia’s offensive rebounds were limited to just three and five second-chance points.

While the Mountaineers are shooting just 42.3% on the season, the bulk of their wins have come from outrebounding their opponent, especially on the offensive end resulting in more opportunities.

West Virginia owned the boards against Texas the first game 53-25 and the Longhorns are in the bottom half of the Big 12 in rebounding.

Win the battle of the boards on both ends of the floor, play good defense contesting their shots and do the dirty work on the offensive glass to create second-chance opportunities and West Virginia wins the game.

West Virginia is 9-11 all-time versus Texas and 2-5 in Austin. 

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