West Virginia men’s basketball opened its conference slate with a 74-59 loss to No. 17 Texas at the Longhorns’ Erwin Events Center in Austin on Saturday.
The Mountaineers ran head-on with the top scoring defense in the country and struggled to put points on the board, giving up 20 turnovers in the process. They were unable to get past a hot second half from the Longhorns, which saw the hosts nearly double the scoring output of WVU.
The game didn’t appear to be a blowout for the opening part, however. In fact, 10 minutes into the contest, WVU and Texas were tied at 14 points. Texas pulled right away in the subsequent 10 minutes, though, and took a 19-point lead into halftime.
Much of WVU’s struggles stemmed from its difficult time taking care of the ball. The Mountaineers gave up 12 turnovers in the first half, which turned into 10 points for Texas on the other end.
“They didn’t take it from us much, we threw it to them,” said WVU coach Bob Huggins. “We have been very careless with the ball from the beginning.”
Meanwhile, WVU didn’t generate a single point from a Texas turnover in that span.
Jalen Bridges led a resurgence of the Mountaineer offense in the second half, as WVU played a neck-and-neck half with the Longhorns to outscore them in the final period of play — but it was too little, too late as the Mountaineers still fell by double digits.
Marcus Carr led the Longhorns with 20 points, adding four rebounds and a pair of assists. Courtney Ramey was right behind with 15 points after a monster first half to help lead the team to its big halftime lead. Andrew Jones added 14 points as well.
Bridges ended the contest with 18 points and four rebounds, but WVU also got double-digit scoring days from Malik Curry (14) and Sean McNeil (12).
The absence of Taz Sherman, the team’s leading scorer who missed the game due to COVID-19 protocols, was ever-present as the Mountaineers made 42 percent of their shots.
WVU falls to 11-2 on the season and 0-1 in the Big 12. Texas improves to 11-2 and 1-0 in the league.
The Mountaineers next take the court on Jan. 8 when it hosts Kansas State.