COMMENTARY

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Three takeaways from West Virginia’s 75-53 loss to Texas on Saturday night at the WVU Coliseum:

1. Roach’s return

After sinking two deep 3s, Kerwin Roach went to the bench with two fouls at the 14:41 mark of the first half. But Texas coach Shaka Smart was compelled to reinsert his lead guard with 2:13 remaining. At that juncture, West Virginia was on a 10-1 run that trimmed the deficit to 29-28.

After Roach re-entered, the Longhorns scored six unanswered to close the half, and then they opened the second half on a 10-1 spurt.

That charge drained all the competitive spirit from West Virginia (10-14, 2-9), which surrendered eight second-half dunks — most of them uncontested alley-oops — and trailed by 29 points.

Roach finished with 14 points, two assists and three steals, and Texas was clearly better with him in the action. How much better? Try plus-32 with Roach on the court, the best plus-minus of any player.

Freshman guard Courtney Ramey can attest, after scoring 13 of his season-high 19 points with Roach on the court.

2. Another beatdown

West Virginia doubled its field-goal output from five nights ago. Then again, going from nine to 18 isn’t exactly cause for a parade.

Derek Culver showed nifty interior passing with four assists, but the Mountaineers’ best offensive weapon of late finished 2-of-6 from the floor. Wes Harris shot 1-of-5. Lamont West finished 1-of-6. WVU made only 3-of-16 from 3-point range.

To no one’s astonishment, shooting 35 percent overall while being out-rebounded 42-34 and forcing only eight turnovers wasn’t the right formula.

“It’s embarrassing,” coach Bob Huggins said. “I’m embarrassed. I’m not sure our guys are, but I was embarrassed.”

That average margin of West Virginia’s last six losses is 24.6 points.

3. Horns down gets UT’s attention

Sam Ehlinger wouldn’t have approved, but Smart seemed to appreciate the West Virginia students featuring modified foam fingers that formed a horns-down. They even lit up in neon for added disrespect.

“I noticed. I always notice that stuff,” Smart said. “I think there’s great fans here. They really understand what it means to be connected around one identity, and part of that is getting on the other team. As a visiting player, you have to relish that and enjoy that. If you play the way you want to play, you can flip it around and use it to fuel your own team and your own energy.”

Texas (14-10, 6-5), which had dropped five straight road games before Saturday’s blowout, is probably back on the good side of the NCAA bubble for now.

West Virginia is, well, floundering.

“We’re gonna try to win some games,” Huggins said. “I’m not going to quit.”

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