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The West Virginia Mountaineers (8-6, 0-2) traveled to Austin in their first road conference game of the year. The Mountaineers fell to the Texas Longhorns (10-4, 2-0) 61-54, in what a grinder of a game.
Coming into the game, Bob Huggins announced that freshman walk-on Taevon Horton would make his first start. Then an hour before tip-off, it was announced that Brandon Knapper did not make the trip and had been suspended.
The guards have struggled throughout the year on the defensive end and that continued to be the story line Saturday night.
In a slow start the to game, West Virginia held a 4-2 lead in the first four minutes. The Mountaineers were crashing the boards early and playing tough defense.
Elijah Mitrou-Long drilled a three giving Texas the lead the Derek Culver came right back with his turnaround jumper regaining the Mountaineer lead.
Texas started taking advantage of the West Virginia guards with straight line drives to the basket. Three consecutive layups for the Longhorns gave them an 11-9 lead.
Neither team could speed up the game, as the offenses used up majority of the shot clock to get a shot off. Texas shot 57% (12-21) in the first half, but only led by six, 32-26. The Mountaineers were 10-24 from the field and Derek Culver led the team in scoring (8) and rebounds (4).
Texas held a 38-30 lead in the first five minutes have the second half. Then Beetle Bolden got hot scoring six straight points and a Derek Culver free throw gave Mountaineers a 7-0 run to get within one.
West Virginia never got control of the game. They had several chances to take the lead but missed shots and turnovers continued to plague the team.
The Mountaineers got within one after a pair of made free throws by Beetle Bolden with 4:19 to play in the game.
Esa Ahmad grabbed an offensive rebound to get back within two but Matt Coleman III drained a three along the wing as the shot clock ran out that seemingly to the air out of WVU.
Jordan McCabe had a wide-open look from three-point range, but it came up short as the Longhorns finished the game from the free throw line giving Texas the seven-point win.
Freshman Derek Culver continues to get better as the season goes along. In just his fourth game, Culver looks to be unstoppable. Against one of the bigger lineups he will see this year, he had 17 points on 8-12 shooting and nine rebounds.
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