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Malik Curry Fails in Attempt to Carry West Virginia as Texas Wins, 82-81

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Photo Kelsie LeRose / WVSN

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. –  It was another case of West Virginia fizzling out, as No. 20 Texas completed a comeback to defeat the Mountaineers, 82-81.

The story has been quite the same all throughout the conference stretch. West Virginia (14-15, 3-13 Big 12) will play well the first half, and then fizzle out at some point in the second. With 10:31 left in the game, the Mountaineers were up 64-54. By the four-minute mark, West Virginia had blown the lead. Turnovers, missed shots and a lack of rebounding cost the Mountaineers the lead.

With 20 seconds to go, Malik Curry completed a three-point play and then Isaiah Cottrell forced a Texas turnover to give the Mountaineers the ball with a chance to steal the game. Curry missed the game-winning jump shot.

Fifth-year senior guard Curry was fantastic for the Mountaineers against Texas (21-8, 10-6 Big 12), finishing with 27 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the field. Curry was able to get to wherever he wanted on the floor, scoring at all levels. Curry made contested layups, hit three’s and got to the foul line.

Just under four minutes left in the first half, Curry hit a three-pointer to cut Texas’ lead to 35-31. Curry went on to score 11 points in the final stretch in the first half. That was the extend to West Virginia’s offense, as the team struggled to get anything going at first.

WVU only dished out eight assists as a team. As one of the worst passing teams in the country, the Mountaineers couldn’t get the ball moving efficiently. Gabe Osabuohien led the team with three assists.

For Texas, they were on fire shooting the ball against the Mountaineers. On Saturday, the Longhorns shot 63 percent from the field, hitting 8-three’s. The only way WVU’s defense could stop Texas was by forcing turnovers.

During the first half of the West Virginia and Texas game, a scuffle broke out under the basket. Curry stole the ball and went up for a layup, Texas forward Brock Cunnignham hit Curry in the face. Curry got up and got into Cunningham’s face, which resulted in all 10 players on the court shouting at each other.

After reviewing the play, Cunningham was ejected from the game and Curry was given one technical. Cunningham left the coliseum floor throwing horns up to the WVU faithful.

Texas wasn’t done with the hard hits, as Courtney Ramey hit Gabe Osabuohien on the head in the second half as the fifth-year senior went for a layup. Ramey was issued a flagrant foul after the review.

West Virginia fans have been waiting for Isaiah Cottrell to become a consistent player this season. Cottrell had another good game, dropping six points on 2-of-3 shooting from the field. Cottrell showed signs of great defense on a couple of possessions by deflecting passes and forcing travels.

Senior guard Kedrian “Keddy” Johnson made the start on Saturday for West Virginia, as he’s been dealing with a hip injury the last few days. Johnson missed the Iowa State game on Wednesday. Johnson played seven minutes against the Longhorns, recording three points.

West Virginia signee Josiah Davis was at the WVU Coliseum to check out the game on Saturday afternoon. Davis, a member of the class of 2022, sat courtside. Davis (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) is a 3-star guard out of Teays Valley who signed with the Mountaineers back in November. So far in his senior season, Davis is averaging 17.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 2.5 steals per game. Davis will begin his postseason tournament in Tennessee over the upcoming weeks.

Notable scorers for West Virginia was Curry (27), Sherman (13) and Osabuohien (12).

West Virginia will now head to Norman for their last road game of the season to take on Oklahoma. The Mountaineers and Sooners are set to tip off at 7 p.m. on Tuesday night with the game on ESPN2.

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Ethan Bock is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in journalism at WVU. He currently is an intern with the Final Fourcast podcast. Ethan has covered WVU football and men’s basketball for the last year. He is from Cincinnati, Ohio.

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