Suddenly rolling Longhorns beat West Virginia for ranked Big 12 win

Local Sports

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The last time Texas faced a West Virginia basketball squad the Longhorns lost by 38 points in Morgantown.

The results couldn’t have been more different Monday night at the Frank Erwin Center.

Suddenly, Texas is riding its first three-game winning streak in Big 12 play while at least somewhat staying in the NCAA Tournament conversation after a 67-57 win over No. 20 West Virginia.

This is the Longhorns’ first three-game winning streak in the Big 12 since the 2015-16 season — Shaka Smart’s first year in Austin.

Andrew Jones hit a career-high with 22 points and Courtney Ramey dropped in 21 after his career-high 26 points Saturday to pace the Longhorns (17-11, 7-8 in Big 12).

With Jericho Sims and Jase Febres already out, Kamaka Hepa also missed Monday’s game with a strep throat diagnosis. The Texas guards have become the driving force of the offense out of necessity. Jones and Ramey have answered the call combining for 81 points over the last two games.

Texas used an early 13-0 run to build a 17-6 advantage after a Jones 3-pointer at the 10:43 mark. The Longhorns hit 61.9% (13-21) from the floor, including a 6-of-11 (.545) mark from three-point range, while building a 34-28 cushion at the break.

West Virginia cut Texas’ lead to 36-33 early in the second half, and didn’t get closer than 46-41 for the remainder of the game. The Mountaineers only led in the game for a total of two minutes.

A short Longhorns bench only had five points on five shots — their offense wasn’t needed. Brock Cunningham didn’t provide much on the box score other than four fouls, but those fouls proved to be vital as the sophomore harassed the West Virginia big men and prevented easy buckets.

West Virginia is clearly in a slump losing its fifth game out of six. The Mountaineers haven’t won a road game since Jan. 7 at Oklahoma State.

Meanwhile, Texas can finally start to make a case for the NCAA Tournament after its first win over a ranked Big 12 opponent all season. The Longhorns will have a real shot at the bracket if it can continue its late season rally.

Next, Smart’s team goes on the road for back-to-back games at Texas Tech and Oklahoma. With two wins in their last three games, Smart could at least make a case that his team is deserving of consideration.

The Longhorns travel to Lubbock Saturday to face No. 22 Texas Tech at 11 a.m. Texas lost the first match-up with the Red Raiders 62-57 three weeks ago.

Remaining Texas Schedule

  • Feb. 29: at No. 20 Texas Tech (18-9, 9-5)
  • March 3: at Oklahoma (16-11, 6-8)
  • March 7: vs. Oklahoma State (14-14, 4-11)

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