MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Andrew Jones hit a 3-pointer with one second to play Saturday as No. 4 Texas scored the final seven points of the game to beat No. 14 West Virginia 72-70 at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown.
The Mountaineers (9-4, 2-3 Big 12) rode a hot streak of first-half shooting to nearly pull off their first top-5 victory of the season. Texas (10-1, 4-0 Big 12) came into Saturday’s contest with the best shooting defense in the Big 12, holding opponents to just 38.3% shooting from the floor. In the first half, however, West Virginia shot 50 percent (14 of 28) from the floor, building up a 40-36 lead at halftime.
WVU’s shooting barrage was led by big man Derek Culver and sixth man Taz Sherman. Culver dominated UT’s forwards down low, scoring eight point and grabbing eight rebounds in the first half. When Texas started double-teaming Culver, he was able to pass it out to WVU’s shooter, like Sherman who scored a team-high 13 points in the first half with three 3-pointers.
Texas began the game by penetrating WVU’s defense on drives, but switched to a more perimeter-focused offense after WVU coach Bob Huggins made defensive adjustments. The switch did not help the Longhorns, however, as they shot just 3 of 12 (25 percent) from beyond the arch in the first half.
After halftime, West Virginia’s shooting regressed, allowing the Longhorns to hang around in the game. WVU opened the second half 1 of 9 shooting. Another streak of 1 of 9 shooting opened the door for Texas to go on a 9-0 run and tie the game at 57 with 8:37 left to play.
Texas was able to stay close enough to make it a one-point game at 70-69 with less than a minute to play. With 55 seconds left, WVU grabbed two offensive rebounds on its next possession and drain the clock to just 10 seconds before Texas started to foul. Emmitt Matthews Jr. missed both free throws, however, and Texas’ Jones hit a 3-pointer on the other end to give Texas a 72-70 lead with one second to play.
Four Mountaineers finished the game scoring in double figures. Sherman (17 points) and Culver (14) led the team while Sean McNeil and Miles ‘Deuce’ McBride chipped in 14 and 12, respectively. Culver also had a double-double with 16 rebounds, his seventh of the season.
Texas was led in scoring by Courtney Ramey (19), Matt Coleman III (13), Greg Brown (12) and Jones (16).
West Virginia remains in Morgantown for its next game, scheduled for Tuesday at 9 p.m. against No. 2 Baylor.