No. 7 Texas faces challenge at improving West Virginia
Expect the intensity to be at a fever pitch Saturday afternoon when No. 7 Texas tries to get back on track against dangerous West Virginia in a key Big 12 Conference game in Morgantown, West Virginia.
The Longhorns (15-3, 4-2 Big 12) are on the road for consecutive games for the first time this season after getting waylaid 78-67 at No. 12 Iowa State on Tuesday. Christian Bishop led Texas with 12 points in the setback, with Marcus Carr scoring 11 and Tyrese Hunter and Dylan Disu racking up 10 each for the Longhorns, who had a three-game winning streak snapped.
Texas trailed by a point after a back-and-forth first half and went back in front just more than eight minutes into the second half. The Longhorns were ultimately undone by Iowa State's 15-4 run that put them in a nine-point hole, and they never seriously challenged again.
"We're Texas. We get everybody's big game," Texas interim coach Rodney Terry said. "We looked at it like, ‘You know what, it's another opportunity to compete at the highest level.' Iowa State made plays down the stretch. Just a highly competitive game in the Big 12."
Texas missed eight consecutive shots and went more than nine minutes without a field goal in that pivotal stretch.
West Virginia (11-7, 1-5) emerged from a five-game losing streak by shocking No. 14 TCU at home 74-65 on Wednesday. The Mountaineers had lost its previous 10 games against teams ranked in the Top 25, but Kedrian Johnson's 20 points and Jimmy Bell Jr.'s 15-point, 12-rebound double-double pushed both of those dubious streaks in the rearview mirror.
"It was a great team effort," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. "They really played. It's really hard to put together a team that hasn't played much together, but we're getting there, and we're getting better. Give them credit."
The Mountaineers were up by 18 points late in the first half and by 15 at halftime before TCU roared back to pull to within 62-60 with 5:14 to play. West Virginia gathered itself and reeled off the next six points to create some separation and closed out the game with back-to-back baskets by Joe Toussaint to keep TCU at bay.
TCU entered the contest with a national-best 22 fast-break points per game, but West Virginia limited the Horned Frogs to just eight, none of them in the first half.
"We didn't let TCU get on the run," Huggins said. "They're really good when they come at you on the run. We didn't do it entirely, but we did it a lot better than most people have."
Emmitt Matthews Jr. added 10 points for the Mountaineers, who won their first regular-season conference game since March 5, 2022. West Virginia sank 20 of its 26 free-throw attempts in the win -- much better than its 61 percent over its first five league contests.
"It seems like six years since we've won a game," Huggins said. "Now we get ready for Texas."
--Field Level Media
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