A seven-point swing in the final minutes helped lift fourth-ranked Texas over No. 14 West Virginia in Big 12 men’s basketball action at the WVU Coliseum on Saturday.
An offensive showdown, neither team was able to build a lead more than nine points. West Virginia stayed in front for more than 33 minutes of the contest, including right up until the final moment.
Texas built a small, early lead in the opening minutes, scoring their first five field goals in the paint. Meanwhile, the WVU offense took a few minutes to really get going.
Taz Sherman seemed to wake the Mountaineers up, leading WVU on a 10-0 run to take the lead, including a pair of three-pointers.
The Mountaineer lead wasn’t exactly solid, as Texas answered with a run of its own to tie. WVU took it right back, though, maintaining an early lead into the break.
Sherman had a monster first half as the first player to double-digits scoring figures, adding 13 points in the opening period while taking 42 percent of WVU’s shots (he made 4 of his seven attempts).
Derek Culver had a strong first half as well, and earned a double-double early in the second. He finished with 14 points and 16 rebounds.
Texas started to make a run for the lead with about 10 minutes remaining, making an 8-0 run to tie the game for the first time since the 11:33 mark of the first half. They didn’t take the lead, but that was a wake-up call for West Virginia.
With 1:28 left on the clock, WVU was up by five points after a jumper from Sherman — but that was the final scoring play from the Mountaineers.
That precipitated a big swing for the Longhorns. As WVU led the game by one point, Deuce McBride tried to extend it with just a few seconds on the clock with a mid-range jumper that missed. Emmitt Matthews grabbed the rebound and got fouled, but missed both of his attempts.
Greg Brown grabbed the second missed free throw, which ultimately set up a go-ahead three-pointer from Andrew Jones to give Texas a two-point lead with just a second left. That bucket effectively ended the game and put Jones’s scoring total to 16 points.
Courtney Ramey was the motor for the Longhorns, finishing with a game-high 19 points, and was one of five in double figures.
Sherman led WVU with 17 points, while Sean McNeil and McBride were right behind with 14 and 12 points, respectively.
The loss moves West Virginia to 9-4 on the season, with a 2-3 mark in the Big 12. Texas remains undefeated in the Big 12 at 4-0 and moves to 10-1 overall.