AUSTIN TX.- Despite trailing by as many as nineteen in the second half, the Mountaineers stormed back to defeat the Texas Longhorns, 84-82 Saturday afternoon in Austin.
Although it would come down to another last second shot by Texas, this time the ball went in the favor of the Mountaineers, who dominated the final 15-minutes of play on the road.
Miles McBride finished the game with 17 points to pace the way for West Virginia, but it was the final block on a much larger, Jericho Sims at the buzzer that will be remembered as the play of the game.
A steady output by the Mountaineers gave Bob Huggins plenty of options to work with, while Emmitt Matthews, Derek Culver, Sean McNeil and Taz Sherman all put up double-digit scoring games in the win.
In his postgame remarks, Bob Huggins commended the play of Matthews, who took a beating all game long, and still finished with 14 points.
“Emmitt took a beating,” said Huggins. “We have to get him back and get him in a cold tub or something, because we’re going to need him in a few days. He played really well and has played well on both ends of the floor for us.”
Early in the second half, Longhorn teammates Courtney Ramey and Greg Jones had to be separated following a timeout and stoppage of play. The two remained in the game, but the Mountaineers would finish the final fifteen minutes of play on a 34-18 run, seizing control of the game.
With four players in double-digits at halftime, the Longhorns had complete control offensively, and in the paint during the first-half, capitalizing off of second chance opportunities, while shooting an impressive 70% from the field, that led to a 10 point lead at halftime.
Pacing the offense for Texas, Ramey had 28 points, including two deep threes with under 3-minutes to play that kept the Longhorn offense alive.
Ramey would go on to foul out of the game with 2:27 to play, and the Mountaineers would take advantage of his absence.
Although forward Derek Culver admitted earlier in the season that it isn’t a good habit to get into (falling into deep deficits early in games), the Mountaineers have proven this season they can dig themselves out of anything, and will continue to battle through the final buzzer.
With the win, the Mountaineers (15-6) move into fourth place in the Big 12, while the Texas Longhorns (13-6) fall to fifth.
Moving forward, the Mountaineers will now take on TCU this upcoming Tuesday in the second game of their three game tour of Texas.
The game will tip-off at 7:00 P.M and will be televised on ESPN2.
Cover photo via Michael Thomas, AP