Morgantown- Devin Williams scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds as the No.20 West Virginia Mountaineers avenged four straight losses to the Texas Longhorns in a 71-64 win on Tuesday night.
Two weeks ago the Mountaineers had lost three-of-four games and the season’s fate depended on an uphill battle. Now the Mountaineers have won three straight and are tied for third place in the Big 12 with No.16 Oklahoma and one game behind No.8 Kansas.
Daxter Miles Jr. and Jonathan Hilton added 12 points apiece for West Virginia.
The Mountaineers scored 28 points in the paint and changed its defense to a 1-1-3 zone to fight off the Longhorns.
“We had a lot of patience,” said head coach Bob Huggins. “Devin played really well. He rebounded and scored in traffic. We got him in the middle of the floor and he collapsed on them. He made a lot of good passes in the post.”
Demarcus Holland led Texas with 14 points and Isaiah Taylor had 13.
Miles hit a deep three-pointer with 10:39 to play in the first half to give West Virginia an early 20-6 lead.
Holton dropped his first three of the season with 3:51 remaining in the half to put the Mountaineers up 33-15. Back-to-back three-pointers from Kendal Yancy and Jonathan Holmes cut the deficit to 12 points.
Holmes would be ejected with 20 seconds left in the half after being assessed a flagrant two foul after throwing an elbow at Williams.
Despite shooting 73.3 percent from the field, Texas trailed the Mountaineers 36-25 at the half.
“We wanted to make Texas pass it more and slow it down,” Huggins said. “They were just coming right at us. We needed to change the rhythm.”
The Mountaineers went on a 13-2 run with huge threes from Jevon Carter, Miles and Holton to take a 53-40 lead with eight minutes left.
Texas wouldn’t go away without a fight. Holland scored off a rebound and made a shot from beyond-the-arc within 15 seconds to pull the Longhorns within three with 27 seconds left.
Carter made a layup off a pass from Carter and Gary Browne made two free throws to seal the victory for West Virginia.
Juwan Staten finished with seven points.
Michael Garcia was named West Virginia’s Mountaineer mascot again for the 2015-16 school year.
West Virginia will travel to Waco on Saturday to take on the No. 19 Baylor Bears at 4 p.m.