Shots Won’t Fall for Mountaineers

MORGANTOWN – It’s no secret West Virginia has had trouble rebounding this season.

Texas took advantage of that to the full extent.

Add in the fact WVU had one of its worst shooting nights of the season, and the result was an 80-69 Longhorn victory at the WVU Coliseum.

”I thought we had a good practice (Sunday) and a good walkthrough (Monday),” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. ”We just didn’t make any shots. You don’t make shots, you put your head down. You make shots, you play harder. (Texas) made shots. We didn’t make any shots.”

The Mountaineers (10-7 overall, 2-2 Big 12) finished 26 of 69 from the floor, 4 of 25 from 3 and were outrebounded 49-30.

”We knew that (Texas) could rebound the ball,” WVU’s Juwan Staten said. ”We knew we’d have a tough time rebounding the ball just because we’ve had a tough time all year. They’re the best rebounding team in the Big 12. We were really counting on making shots and guarding well so we wouldn’t have to rebound as well.”

A Kevin Noreen steal led to a Terry Henderson layup that put the Mountaineers ahead 16-14 eight minutes into the game, but it was the last time they held a lead.

Less than a minute later, Eron Harris, the Big 12’s second-leading scorer, picked up his second foul and spent nearly the rest of the half on the bench.

After the Mountaineers tied it at 23-23, Texas (13-4, 2-2) finished on an 18-4 run.

”I really felt that the last eight minutes of the first half were the best eight minutes we have played all year,” Longhorns coach Rick Barnes said. ”Isaiah Taylor, up until the end, did the best job he has done all year.”

Taylor finished with 10 points and eight rebounds as three other Longhorns finished in double figures led by Javan Felix with 19.

”We had Eron and Terry (Henderson) on the bench,” Huggins said of the Texas run. ”That’s how it all started. Eron had two fouls and we took him out. Terry said he was tired. We don’t score very good with those guys on the bench. Obviously, we don’t guard very good either.”

Poor post play hindered the Mountaineers all night.

Jonathan Holmes and Cameron Ridley made a living in the paint on both ends of the court as they pulled down 12 rebounds apiece and combined for 21 points.

”We’ve suffered inside for 17 games,” Huggins said. ”Devin (Williams) had a little bit of the flu. He wasn’t very good. When he’s not very good, we’re not very good in there.

”We needed a big body. Devin is the only big body we have. We got outmanned.”

Williams played for 16 minutes and finished with two points, on 1 of 7 shooting, and not a single board.

Staten led the Mountaineers with a game-high 23 points.

Henderson finished with 16 points, while Remi Dibo had 10 and Harris six.

The three combined to go 3 of 20 from 3.

”We had some catch and shoot shots that we didn’t shoot,” Huggins said. ”We had shots that those guys make. Terry and Eron make those shots. Remi, he generally makes those shots. We didn’t make any.”

The Mountaineers trailed by 20 with 3:54 remaining in the game, but were able to cut the final margin to 11. Huggins seemed pleased with that effort.

”We’re making progress,” he said. ”They didn’t quit. We end up turning them over 18 times. That itself, I think, is a start. They’re going to keep playing. They didn’t lie down. It would have been easy to as bad as we shot it. They didn’t do that.”