The momentum of last night’s showdown between Texas and West Virginia completely shifted when Mountaineer guard Eron Harris left the game in the first half with foul trouble.
Harris, who leads the team in scoring with 18.1 points per game, picked up his third foul with 11:11 left in the first half and sat on the bench for over nine minutes. Harris averages over 31 minutes per game.
During his absence, the Mountaineer offense struggled mightily to find its shot.
Although the offense rediscovered its rhythm in the second half, a 14-point halftime deficit proved too much to overcome and the Longhorns claimed the victory.
“We took (good) shots,” Huggins said. “Remi (Dibo) took excellent shots. We just didn’t make them.”
The dry spell was just a microcosm in a game that featured a stagnant and tired Mountaineer team.
Even while he was on the court, Harris struggled to find his shot, scoring just 6 points and shooting 0-7 from 3-point range. He committed more fouls (5) than shot attempts made (3-11).
“We had a bunch of lapses,” Harris said. “(We were) out-manned.”
The loss marks the second straight loss for the Mountaineers at home. WVU lost to No. 11 Oklahoma State by 1 point last Saturday in what appeared to be the strongest effort put forth by the Mountaineers all season.
“I don’t want to make excuses,” Harris said of the quick turnaround. “Everybody has to play games like that. People have bad games shooting wise, but we have to be able to rebound. We didn’t rebound our misses, and they rebounded their misses.”
West Virginia shot just 38 percent from the field, and 14 percent from 3-point range (4-25).
“Two years ago I probably would’ve started crying in the game and tell my coach to take me out,” Harris said. “But I tried to stay emotionally level and keep shooting my shot because I know I can (shoot).”
The Longhorns, who statistically have the best rebounding team in the conference, out rebounded the Mountaineers 49-30. WVU big man Devin Williams battled the flu all night, which perhaps explains his 2 point, 0 rebound effort.
“Devin (Williams) wasn’t very good,” Huggins said. “When he’s not very good, then (the team) isn’t very good (in the paint). He’s our biggest player.”
The loss drops the Mountaineers to 10-7 on the season, but more importantly, a 2-2 record in the Big 12 Conference.
“It just wasn’t going for me tonight,” Harris said. “I’m mad about that. I’ll get some extra shots up. But that happens, and that happened to a few of us tonight. We won’t lay down and quit. We’re a team and we’ll keep fighting.”