MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia men’s basketball is back to the drawing board after falling to No. 7 Texas 69-61 at the WVU Coliseum.
The contest was tight as neither team led the game by more than single digits throughout the contest. Familiar issues for WVU came to the top, however, as the Longhorns pulled away late after capitalizing on Mountaineer turnovers and defensive miscues.
“We had opportunities but we’ve had opportunities in the other games that we lost, too,” said WVU coach Bob Huggins. “We didn’t seize opportunities.”
Longhorn forward Dylan Disu tipped off a five-minute trend of trading buckets with the Mountaineers as neither team established a foothold on the scoreboard. Despite a relatively efficient half, both teams combined to score 53 points. Neither team led on the scoreboard by more than two possessions.
West Virginia bothered the high-powered Texas offense by keeping the Longhorns away from the three-point line as they made just one of their seven shots from deep.
WVU kept it within two possessions for much of the second half as Kedrian Johnson tried to give the Mountaineers a spark late. Marcus Carr would take the game over for Texas, though, adding 19 of his 23 points after halftime.
“We just did a bad job,” Huggins said. “He’s a right-handed guy who loves to go right and we let him go right.”
Texas finally broke the two-possession lead streak with just over four minutes left on the clock when Timmy Allen sunk a pair of free throws to put the Longhorns up seven.
West Virginia had one of its worst games in terms of ball security, giving up 20 turnovers in the contest. Texas turned that into 19 points themselves.
WVU’s free throw struggles also bubbled to the surface as the Mountaineers missed some timely opportunities from the charity stripe. In the second half, Texas earned a technical foul to send Johnson, WVU’s leading free throw shooter, to the line. He missed both and finished 7-for-11 in the game.
Johnson still finished with a season-high 22 points to lead the Mountaineers, knocking down 6-of-9 attempts from the field. Tre Mitchell, a former Longhorn himself, was the only other Mountaineer in double figures with 12 points.
As a team, WVU shot 38.5 percent from the field and 34.8 percent from three-point range.
Disu added 13 points to the Longhorns’ total before fouling out in the second half. Tyrese Hunter and Christian Bishop each added 11 points.
The Mountaineers fall to ninth in the Big 12 with the loss after earning their first conference win on Wednesday. Texas holds on to the second spot in the league with the win.
WVU returns to the court on Wednesday when they travel to Lubbock, Texas to face Texas Tech. Tip-off at United Supermarkets Arena is set for 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU.