West Virginia’s test to put a tough, three-point home loss to No. 11 Oklahoma State behind them on short rest was answered with a sluggish, uninspired performance Monday night at the WVU Coliseum. The Mountaineers lost to the visiting Texas Longhorns 80-69.
WVU struggled shooting for the most of the night, making just 38 percent of its shots from the field. The loss drops the team to 10-7 overall and evened their record in the Big 12 up at 2-2.
“We just didn’t make any shots,” said head coach Bob Huggins. “If you don’t make shots, you put your head down. If you make shots, you play harder. (Texas) made shots and we didn’t make any.”
Junior guard Juwan Staten led WVU in scoring with 23 points on the night. Staten and sophomore guard Terry Henderson combined for 39 of the team’s 69 points.
“When you have to turn around and have only one day to prepare, sometimes you come out flat,” Staten said. “That’s what we tried to protect against, but we couldn’t make shots, couldn’t guard and just couldn’t do anything right.”
West Virginia’s leading scorer, sophomore guard Eron Harris, finished with just six points, 12 less than his season average. Harris was just 3-of-11 from the floor and fouled out.
The Longhorns, (13-4, 2-2) broke the game open when they closed the first half on an 18-4 run. West Virginia made just one of its final 10 shots before halftime and made just two field goals in the final eight minutes of the first half. Javan Felix scored a team-high 23 points in the victory. Texas shot 53 percent from the field.
Texas’ largest lead came with about six minutes left in the game when the Longhorns led by 21. They led for the final 31 minutes of the game.
The Mountaineers were out-rebounded 49-30 in one of the biggest statistical discrepancies of the night. Texas came into the game No. 11 in the country in rebounding and No. 1 in the conference.
Part of the struggles came from the lack of production from forward Devin Williams. The freshman scored just two points in 16 minutes and failed to record a rebound despite ranking in the top four in the Big 12 in that category.
“We needed a big body,” Huggins said. “Devin (Williams) is the only big body that we have. We got out-manned.”
WVU’s other Achilles heel came from behind the 3-point line Monday. The Mountaineers shot 4-25 from beyond the arc, their worst performance of the season.
West Virginia will now have nearly a full week to prepare for its next contest on Saturday when the Mountaineers travel to Kansas State.
“We have to do some soul-searching,” Henderson said. “We need to figure out individually what we can do to make this team better. We need to come together and work on our weaknesses.”