No. 12 Texas led No. 13 West Virginia by 19 points just two minutes into the second half. The Longhorns then spent the next 18 minutes watching that lead slowly evaporate, eventually losing 84-82 to the Mountaineers on Saturday afternoon in Austin.
The win gives WVU (15-6, 8-4 Big 12) an edge over Texas (13-6, 7-5) in the Big 12 standings with the conference tournament quickly approaching.
The Longhorns scored effortlessly in the first half, originally led by forward Jericho Sims. Sims scored 10 early points in the first half, but picked up two personal fouls and sat for the final 13 minutes. Even without Sims, Texas continued to score at will, shooting 70% from the floor with seven 3-pointers. 26 of Texas’s 53 points came in the paint and they led the Mountaineers 53-43 at halftime.
The Longhorns exploded out of the break, making three quick 3-pointers to push their lead up to 19 less than two minutes into the half. The Mountaineers slowly made up ground, however, continually scoring and getting stops. WVU put together a 13 to 2 run over four minutes, culminating in a 3-pointer by Miles “Deuce” McBride that cut Texas’s lead down to just four, 72-68.
WVU’s second-half push was fueled by junior guard Sean McNeil, who scored all 16 of his points after halftime. McNeil spent most of the first half on the bench with two fouls but shot 5 of 7 with two 3-pointers.
WVU completed the comeback on another McBride 3-pointer that tied the game at 76 with 6:29 left to play. The Mountaineers then took the lead, 78-76, on free throws by senior Taz Sherman. Texas retook the lead, 82-81 on a 3-pointer by Courtney Ramey, giving him a career-high 28 points, but Ramey fouled out on the very next WVU possession.
The Mountaineers went up 84-82, a score that held until there were less than 10 seconds left to play. Texas had possession with 6.8 seconds left and a chance to either tie or take the lead. Andrew Jones missed a 3-pointer but the ball was hit out of bounds by WVU with 0.3 seconds left. Texas was not able to get a last-second tip-in and WVU won the first of three games it will play in the state of Texas this week.
McBride (17) and McNeil (16) finished as WVU’s leading scorers with Derek Culver, Emmitt Matthews Jr. and Sherman all scoring 14. Ramey led all scorers with 28 while Matt Coleman III also scored 20 for Texas.