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West Virginia suffers 94-60 loss at No. 5 Texas

West Virginia’s first trip to the Moody Center became one the Mountaineers would like to forget before halftime.

No. 5 Texas had no difficulty wrapping up a regular season sweep of the Mountaineers, with the Longhorns building a 21-point halftime lead and rolling to a 94-60 victory Saturday.

The Longhorns (20-5, 9-3) capitalized on a 32-8 advantage in points off turnovers and consistently capitalized on West Virginia’s miscues. Thirteen of the Mountaineers’ 20 turnovers came in the first half, helping Texas build a 51-30 advantage.

“I don’t know where you begin,” WVU head coach Bob Huggins said on postgame radio. “They shot the ball extremely well. We went back to turning the ball over excessively, which I thought we kind of had fixed. How many times do we throw it out of bounds? One lady got hit in the face with one. She didn’t see it coming. It was terrible. Turned it over left and right. Didn’t make shots; they made shots. They’re good and talented. We shouldn’t lose like that.”

The Mountaineers’ best basketball came over the first 5-plus minutes, when forward Emmitt Matthews Jr. scored nine points to key WVU to a 12-8 lead.

Sir’Jabari Rice scored eight points over a span of 2:13 that turned a two-point deficit into a six-point advantage for the Longhorns.

After Kedrian Johnson countered with a conventional three-point play, it was all Texas.

Two free throws from Timmy Allen 8:27 before halftime made it 27-17 for the first double-digit margin. The Mountaineers (15-10, 4-8) trailed 34-23 after Seth Wilson sank a jumper, but Texas ran off seven straight points in less than 1 minute as Christian Bishop and Allen scored inside and Arterio Morris connected from long range.

The final sequence of the half was indicative of West Virginia’s afternoon. With an opportunity to hold for a final shot, Morris came up with a steal on a turnover charged to Joe Toussaint, and Rice put a dunk through just before time expired to make it 51-30.

Matthews scored 12 first-half points, but WVU made 5-of-20 shots otherwise. Texas, meanwhile, made all 16 of its free-throw attempts and 5-of-7 three-pointers in a dominant offensive showing. The Longhorns also held a 21-5 advantage in points off turnovers through the first 20 minutes.

“The vast majority of the turnovers really weren’t pressure induced,” Huggins said. “They did get up in us and the game started out very physical on their end. Everybody keeps talking about we’re physical and we’re not like that. They were very physical early and we didn’t respond to it well.”

Returning to Texas for the first time since transferring, West Virginia forward Tre Mitchell struggled with five first-half turnovers while being held without a field goal.

“We threw the ball all over the place,” Huggins said. “I didn’t know what to do with Tre. He wasn’t Tre. He wasn’t as confident. He wasn’t as focused maybe.”

The game was never competitive in the second half, and Morris’ jump shot with 6:02 remaining made it 75-45 for the first 30-point difference.

UT’s proficiency on free throws continued, with the Longhorns making 8-of-9 attempts after halftime to finish 24 for 25. Texas also made 10 threes on 17 attempts. 

Rice led all players with 24 points and did so while making 5-of-6 shots, 4-of-5 threes and 10-of-10 free throws.

Allen scored 14 points and had a game-best nine rebounds, while Morris scored 12.

Matthews, with 13 points, was WVU’s only double-figure scorer. 

Freshman Josiah Harris played 10 minutes and scored eight while making 3-of-4 field-goal attempts and both of his threes.

WVU’s leading scorer, Erik Stevenson, was held to three points on 1-for-7 shooting. His only bucket came early during the Mountaineers’ strong start. Johnson was also held to 1-for-7 shooting and scored five points, and Mitchell finished with four points.

After suffering the program’s most lopsided loss since a 2015 Sweet 16 game against Kentucky, the Mountaineers have a quick turnaround and are back in action at 9 p.m. Monday with another stern road challenge at Baylor.

“Tomorrow we’ll go over Baylor’s stuff. We won’t go hard or long,” Huggins said. “They need to be off their feet. This has been a hard run. Play as many games as we play, travel the way we travel. Other teams complain about coming to Morgantown. How about what we do. Other teams in the league don’t do what we do. It’s hard on you.”

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