AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Longhorns (11-2) opened 2022 with a masterful defensive performance against West Virginia to start the Big 12 schedule with a win.
Marcus Carr scored 20 points, leading the Longhorns to a 74-59 for UT’s fifth straight victory. The Mountaineers, who were playing shorthanded due to COVID-19 protocols, lost for the first time in nine games. West Virginia was without starting guard and leading scorer Taz Sherman as well as Gabe Osabuohien and Kobe Johnson.
Texas was the aggressor from the opening tip, taking advantage of a West Virginia team missing several key players. Three Longhorns finished in double-figures: Carr, Courtney Ramey and Andrew Jones. The Longhorns never trailed in the game, leading by as many as 28.
Home court advantage is still a thing for these Longhorns. Texas is thriving in Austin with a 10-0 record in home games this season.
The first Big 12 road game of the year is up next for Chris Beard’s team. Texas will play two road games this week, going to Kansas State (Tuesday) and Oklahoma State (Saturday).
Here’s a breakdown of how Texas found success against the Mountaineers Saturday.
Texas defense still has bite
The Longhorns showed no mercy against a West Virginia team missing its leading scorer. Texas is the No. 1 scoring defense in the country, holding seven of its first 13 opponents below 50. UT forced 20 West Virginia turnovers and kept the Mountaineers well below their scoring average.
Courtney Ramey sets the tone
The Longhorns senior guard knows how to score against Bob Huggins’ defense. Ramey scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half, taking Texas to a double-digit lead. Ramey’s effectiveness tapered in the second half, but he set the tone for the game during the first 20 minutes. In his last three games against West Virginia, Ramey has scored 28, 19 and 21 points.
First half run
It’s fitting that Courtney Ramey started Texas’ scoring run to close the first half. Tied at 14, Ramey nailed a 3-pointer with just under 10 minutes remaining in the half. From there, the Longhorns outscored the Mountaineers 25-6. Marcus Carr had the exclamation point scoring in the closing seconds for a 39-20 halftime lead.
Sustained success in the second half
Last year in Austin, the Longhorns built a massive lead on West Virginia only to see it disappear during a difficult second half. During that game, West Virginia chipped away at a 19-point deficit early in the second half, coming away with a 84-82 win to break Texas’ spirits.
This year, Texas prevented a comeback.
Beard called timeout around the 12-minute mark of the second half after a quick 5-0 WVU run cut Texas’ lead to 23. Beard wasn’t messing around, stopping any semblance of a Mountaineers run. Texas responded with a Tre Mitchell layup and an Andrew Jones 3-pointer after the timeout.