No. 4 Texas has played some of its best basketball away from home this season and faces another road challenge on Saturday afternoon in a Big 12 clash with No. 14 West Virginia in Morgantown, W.Va.
The Longhorns (9-1, 3-0 Big 12) held off Iowa State 78-72 at home on Tuesday in their first game since routing Kansas by 25 points in Lawrence.
The Mountaineers (9-3, 2-2 Big 12) return home after an 87-84 win Monday at Oklahoma State in which they trailed by 19 points with 11 minutes to play.
Texas has won five straight, with its only loss of the season coming at home on Dec. 6 to then-No. 12 Villanova.
“Really happy to win (against Iowa State) in a game that easily could have been a trap for us coming off of Kansas and with a big road game coming up later this week,” Texas coach Shaka Smart said.
It took a career-high 23 points from Andrew Jones, double-figure scoring from four other starters and a spirited run on defense over the final three minutes to keep the Longhorns undefeated in league games. This is Texas’ first 3-0 start in Big 12 play since the 2010-11 season.
“Our offense has gotten a lot better because we’re playing a lot better defense,” Jones said. “As long as we continue to get stops, that allows us to play at our pace and our brand of basketball.”
Greg Brown had 15 points, with Matt Coleman III scoring 13 and Jericho Sims and Courtney Ramey hitting for 10 points apiece against the Cyclones.
Texas’ ranking is its highest in the Associated Press poll since the Longhorns were No. 3 on Feb. 14, 2011.
The Mountaineers rallied from a significant deficit for the second straight game Monday and this time did enough to win. On Jan. 2, the Mountaineers fought back from 18 down at Oklahoma to tie the game before losing 75-71.
Derek Culver paced West Virginia with 22 points and 19 rebounds. Deuce McBride added 21 points while Taz Sherman hit for 20. West Virginia shot just 41.4 percent compared to Oklahoma State’s 47.0 percent, but the Mountaineers cleaned up on the glass with 22 offensive rebounds and 36 points in the paint.
“It was a great team win,” coach Bob Huggins said. “We got contributions from a lot of different people, and Deuce made big shots at the end like he normally does.
“We need to come back in and get a whole lot better because we’ve got Texas and then Baylor coming up,” Huggins added. “Texas is our next one and, man, were they good against Kansas. Then it’s Baylor, so we’re going to have to play two really good halves instead of one good one, really, for the rest of the year.”
Monday’s win over Oklahoma State was Huggins’ 300th career victory at his alma mater. Only Gale Catlett (1979-2002) has won more games at West Virginia with 439. Huggins became just the second coach to win at least 300 games at two different Division I schools (he also won 399 at Cincinnati), joining Roy Williams (Kansas and North Carolina).
–Field Level Media