MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia endured bouts of sloppy ballhandling, lost the rebounding battle and squandered an 11-point second-half lead. Certainly not the preferred recipe for their Big Monday matchup against Texas, yet the Mountaineers escaped with a 60-58 victory, earning a season sweep of the Longhorns.

Jabarie Hinds and Deniz Kilicli scored 14 points each to carry WVU (11-11, 4-5 Big 12), which had lost three of its last four at the Coliseum. The Mountaineers were in danger of another late-game collapse when Julien Lewis’ 3-pointer moved Texas ahead 54-53 with 4:37 to play.

After Eron Harris put West Virginia back in front with a basket from the right wing, Longhorns forward Jaylen Bond missed two free throws. On the opposite end, Kilicli bulled into the lane and tossed in a runner while getting fouled by Ioannis Papapetrous. The big Turk celebrated by pounding his chest in front of the WVU student section, and then he sank the and-one free throw to make it a 58-54 cushion.

“That wound up being the ballgame,” said Kilicli, who finished 6-of-8 shooting.

“It was a hard-fought game and we knew it would be coming in,” said Texas coach Rick Barnes, whose team dropped a 57-53 overtime decision to WVU three weeks ago in Austin. “We’ve had two of them against West Virginia. We are close, but it’s a couple possessions here and there that we need to get.”

Texas, despite missing its final seven field-goal tries, was afforded a chance to force an overtime repeat after some defensive silliness by West Virginia. Down 60-56, UT’s Sheldon McClellan attempted a 3-pointer and was bumped by Aaric Murray with 0.7 seconds left. McClellan made the first two free throws and purposely missed the third, giving UT an opportunity for the game-tying tip, but Murray snared the rebound to kill the clock.

The Longhorns (10-12, 2-7) outrebounded WVU 36-29 yet fell to 1-9 away from Austin and 0-6 in true road games. Still, Barnes liked his team’s fight on a night when only 4,966 fans made it to the Coliseum because of snowstorms.

West Virginia closed the first half on a 17-5 run and carried that momentum into the second half, leading 44-33 with 14:16 left. Then Texas went on a 12-2 run — eight of those points coming from point guard Javan Felix, who had 12 overall and seven assists — to pull ahead 49-47 with 7:50 left.

“Their point guard played great,” WVU coach Bob Huggins said. “He made some hard shots.”

McClellan, just 2-of-13 shooting in the first meeting, made only 2-of-10 shots from the floor this time, but produced 14 points thanks to 9-of-11 foul shooting. He also collected eight rebounds. Papapetrous and Lewis added 10 points each for Texas.

Limited to three baskets in the game’s first 12 minutes, the Mountaineers rallied to shoot 46 percent from the floor.

Shoeless Papy

During one comical stretch inside the final five minutes, Papapetrous lost his left shoe while tangling with Keaton Miles near the top of the key. As the play continued, WVU’s Juwan Staten grabbed the loose shoe and flung it two rows deep into the student section, generating a roar.  Papapetrous was visibly flummoxed but had the last laugh moments later by beating Miles to an offensive rebound in his sock.

Assessed Huggins: “I told Keaton, ‘If you can’t block out a guy with one shoe, who are you gonna block out?'”

Sparse crowd

Kudos to Coliseum officials who shortly after tip-off welcomed fans in the nose-bleed seats to come down to lower sections. With another snowstorm knocking out power and creating treacherous road conditions, WVU played before an arena that was less than one-third full.

Still, Huggins was appreciative of the crowd that braved the elements: “I thought getting 4,000 people here tonight, considering the conditions, was pretty good.”

Shackling the Longhorns

While Texas is shooting 43 percent through nine Big 12 games, its two encounters with West Virginia have produced 34- and 35-percent efforts. Those are not only the Longhorns’ worst single-game performances in conference play, but also their lowest of the season.

“I think West Virginia is an excellent defensive team,” Barnes said. “They’re not going to give you a lot.”

Murray nearly blanked

Though he grabbed eight rebounds, Murray was 0-for-3 from the floor and produced only one point — more than nine below his team-leading average. He also committed three of West Virginia’s 16 turnovers.

“He’s got to score,” said Kilicli. “If he would’ve scored tonight this would have been a 12-point game.”

Free-throw disparity

Barnes wasn’t pointing fingers at the officials after West Virginia finished 20-of-29 from the line and Texas shot 11-of-16.

“We need our big guys to get into position and draw some fouls,” he said.

Quotable

Kilicli on the Mountaineers committing five turnovers during a four-minute span that helped Texas climb out of an 11-point hole: “We like to keep it exciting for the fans. We just throw the ball all over the place to keep it close so people don’t leave with four minutes left in the game.”

 

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Comments

  • justin

    when the turk is gone and freshmen harris and henderson get another year under their belt, the eers might actuallly have a decent team. this year has been hard to watch.

  • hillboy

    jeez, haven't the Turks heaped enough indignities on the Greeks over the last few centuries. Kilicli has to add one more by dunking on Papapetrous and drawing a foul--which he then made! Ouch!

  • John

    The young guys are gaining confidence daily and the old guys are stepping up a little. Great job of coaching, Huggs. These guys are getting better daily. Where's all the Huggs haters? Even the commentators talked about the great coaching job. Good times are just around the corner. Keep working boys.

    • Shawn

      That's what we all need to realize on here. I'm all about debate when it comes to sports but to listen to a person who doesn't understand the game is just hard to do. I'm glad the commentators make comments about how young our team is and how Huggs has done a good job with such a streaky team this year. Kudos to Huggs and his players for holding it together and continuing to play and learn the game.

  • Wemakerain

    They are the streakiest team I think I have ever seen, they miss everything, then make impossible shots. They are a blast to watch, you have your choice between 2 teams (great and awful) and then your choice of jersey it's great haha. Good win guys let's get another or 7

  • cutty77

    Thank God for those 2 Freshman,Harris,and Henderson.Huggs made a Great Defense move late in the 2nd Half.But This Team has only beat one Team with a Winning Record,so easy on The NCAA Talk.

  • jethro

    huggs is a good coach, not too many coaches could lead this team to a win

  • Larry

    Texas looked pitiful, unorganized and uninspired. Not only that but they got "outcoached"...and coming from me that is saying a lot!

    Any time you beat Texas in anything it is a good win!

  • Oh Did Ya?

    I used to despise Brent Musburger but I have a new found respect after seeming him sing Country Roads.

  • Hoffy

    The way things were early for WVU, I was wondering if they went outside and rolled around in the snow before tipoff. Yikes!
    Free throws helped make the difference, along with poor shooting from the field by Texas, which took 11 more shots than WVU.
    Good decision by Huggins to switch defenses and neutralize Felix.
    Decent job overall, though, and something to build on for the Mountaineers. Nice win!

    • shawn

      Huggs made some good adjustments in the game. It works when the kids actually listen to the coaches.

  • shawn

    This year had been a learning experience but I think we are actually starting to play together as a team. Good win EERS!

  • Pghmountaineer

    Another nail biter, but at least they won. I don't understand what they were thinking by commiting 2 3 shot fouls at the end. My gosh, that's grade school basketball.