Ben Queen/MetroNews photo
Texas center Cameron Ridley backs down WVU’s Kevin Noreen during Monday night’s game in Morgantown.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — It’s a Big Monday/Big 12 matchup at the WVU Coliseum, where the Texas Longhorns face West Virginia. We’ll be providing in-game updates throughout the evening:
TEXAS 80, WEST VIRGINIA 69 (final)
Bolstered by a 49-30 rebounding edge, the Longhorns dominated this game far beyond the final score. Staten scores 23 and Henderson 16 for West Virginia, but Harris finished with six points on 3-of-11 shooting and Devin Williams was AWOL with two points and zero rebounds in 16 minutes. …. Texas was led by 19 points from Felix and shot 53 percent to WVU’s 38 percent.
TEXAS 75, WEST VIRGINIA 62 (2:55 second half)
When the lead bulged to 21 points at 70-59, the crowd grabbed its jackets and made for the Blue Lot. After winning two road games, it’s hard to appreciate the damage done to fans’ psyche by WVU losing back-to-back two home games. However, in front of a mostly-empty Coliseum, WVU scored seven points in 43 seconds to make things less uninteresting.
TEXAS 61, WEST VIRGINIA 47 (7:52 second half)
West Virginia’s 1-of-16 drought from 3-point range ends mercifully with Nate Adrian breaking the seal from the left wing. Perhaps that will jump-start Harris, who is 0-of-7 from deep. … It’s going to take some Texas turnovers to allow WVU back in this one. And it might not hurt if the Mountaineers leveled things on the boards, where they trail 41-25.
TEXAS 57, WEST VIRGINIA 38 (11:54 second half)
Superior domination on the glass—Texas has grabbed 24 of the last 32 rebounds. Ridley already owns a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards, and Jonathan Holmes is approaching one himself with nine points and eight boards. Nobody on the West Virginia roster has more than three rebounds.
TEXAS 50, WEST VIRGINIA 36 (14:55 second half)
The Mountaineers didn’t exactly storm out of the halftime locker room, as Texas stretched its lead to 19 at 48-29. But there was a momentary pulse when Staten’s drive cut the deficit to 12. Things may look hopeless, but remember WVU is only 1-of-10 from 3-point range and should inevitably heat up in that department. Remember back even further to last year’s game in Austin, where WVU trailed by 13 in the final four minutes.
TEXAS 41, WEST VIRGINIA 27 (halftime)
This may have been the Mountaineers’ worst 20 minutes since the second half at Virginia Tech on Nov. 12. So much to dislike for Huggins, whose team was outrebounded 24-16 and outshot 50 percent to 33 percent. The 22-10 edge in points in the paint really jumps out for Texas. … Henderson has nine points and Staten seven for WVU, while Texas has eight points from Ridley, seven from Walker and six each fro Feliz and Taylor.
TEXAS 41, WEST VIRGINIA 27 (halftime)
With WVU’s halfcourt offense flummoxed by UT’s zone, Huggins reinserts Harris at the 2:06 mark despite his foul trouble. Desperate times for the Mountaineers, trailing by double digits, but it doesn’t slow the Longhorns’ onslaught. Texas closes the half on an 18-4 run over the final 7:15. WVU closed the half making just 1-of-10 shots, while the visitors hit 6-of-10—all on dunks or layups.
TEXAS 31, WEST VIRGINIA 25 (3:38 first half)
Brandon Watkins picks up his second and third fouls in a compressed timeframe and heads to the bench with 5:15 left, where he joins the aforementioned Eron Harris. With UT’s frontline making hay in the paint, Watkins’ shot-altering ability could be missed. … Both teams are playing a ton of zone, only Texas appears to be playing it far better.
TEXAS 23, WEST VIRGINIA 20 (7:57 first half)
Texas is shooting 53 percent, thanks to Ridley and Taylor each starting 3-of-4. West Virginia is off to a 41-percent start, and only 1-of-5 from 3-point range. Rebounding is 12-11 in the Horns’ favor. WVU needs to force the action more in the halfcourt, considering Texas has only two fouls so far, one of which was offensive.
TEXAS 19, WEST VIRGINIA 16 (11:11 first half)
Trouble is brewing for WVU after Eron Harris picks up his second foul, going for a transition block on a Texas guard Martez Walker. With Harris sidelined for at least the next chunk of the first half, even more shots could shift to Terry Henderson, who has seven points on 3-of-5 shooting so far.
TEXAS 10, WEST VIRGINIA 9 (15:52 first half)
Despite picking up a charging call on the opening possession, big ol’ Cameron Ridley is owning the lane so far, with six points and three rebounds. He’s a 6-9, 285-pound center who forced Bob Huggins to bring in Brandon Watkins after only a couple minutes. (Ridley promptly outmuscled Watkins for an offensive putback.)
Texas coach Rick Barnes opted to start guard Javan Felix tonight, only his fourth start of the season. The point guard was a starter throughout much of last season as a freshman. He averages better than 11 points and 24 minutes, so the starting nod seems more ceremonial than anything, but maybe Barnes likes the twin point guard look of pairing Felix and Taylor.
Texas does a terrific job challenging shots at the rim—ranking sixth nationally with 6.8 blocks per game—but the Longhorns rank last in the Big 12 in 3-point defense, allowing opponents to make more than 36 percent. Perhaps West Virginia (31st nationally at 39 percent from long distance) should just play five guys out and bomb jumpers all night long? It’s so crazy it just might work.
While Texas averages more possessions per 40 minutes than WVU (73.3 to 68.9), the Mountaineers hold the edge in scoring (80.6 to 77.8) and thus are more efficient. Along those lines, West Virginia ranks 18th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio, while Texas is way down yonder at 243rd. Chalk that last difference up to Juwan Staten’s strong season while UT is breaking in a freshman point guard, Isaiah Taylor.