West Virginia rallies past Texas 57-53 in overtime
AUSTIN, Texas — West Virginia coach Bob Huggins didn’t pull any punches about his team’s shooting performance on Wednesday night, but he found a reason to be optimistic after the Mountaineers’ rebounding helped salvage the program’s first win in its new conference.
“I don’t know that this team is ever going to become a great shooting team,” Huggins said. “But we can become a very good rebounding team.”
West Virginia made just over 30 percent of its field goals but grabbed 45 boards to defeat Texas 57-53 in overtime.
Aaric Murray scored 12 points and Jabarie Hinds added 11 as the Mountaineers (8-6, 1-1 Big 12) won their first league matchup since coming over from the Big East this season.
Jonathan Holmes had 12 points for Texas (8-7, 0-2), which gave up a double-digit lead in the final 5 minutes of regulation, then scored only three points in the extra period.
After missing its first 14 3-pointers, West Virginia made three from long range in the final 3:14 of regulation. The last, by Eron Harris, gave the Mountaineers a 50-47 lead with 16 seconds remaining. Then Holmes forced overtime moments later with a high-arcing 3-pointer off an inbounds pass.
After Texas took a brief lead in overtime, Murray responded with a jumper that tied the score at 52 at the 3:37 mark. West Virginia moved back ahead on a pair of free throws by Gary Browne less than 30 seconds later.
Starting on its next possession, West Virginia collected three straight offensive rebounds, holding onto the ball for almost 2 full minutes.
“We gave up like three rebounds in a row, and that definitely hurt us,” Texas guard Javan Felix said. “We just have to finish.”
Texas and West Virginia, which both came into the game ranked near the bottom of the country in field-goal percentage, started shooting 31 percent from the floor, but the Mountaineers led 12-8 halfway through the first period. Then the Longhorns scored 14 of the next 18 points to get on top for the first time all game and finished the half leading 24-21.
Texas might have taken the lead sooner and widened it more before halftime, but the Longhorns missed 10 of their 14 free throws, including six of their last eight before the break. They went 11 of 25 from the free-throw line for the night.
“You get down to toughness,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said. “West Virginia hung around, you’ve got to give them credit, but there’s no doubt, I think they made winning plays at the end.”
West Virginia trailed for most of the second half. It got within 33-29 on a hook shot by Deniz Kilicli with 12:20 remaining, but Holmes made a driving layup to push Texas’ lead back to six and spur a 9-0 run that put the Longhorns ahead by double digits for the first time.
The Longhorns led by as much as 47-37 with 3:41 to play following a layup by Holmes. West Virginia then started its long-range barrage, scoring 13 straight points capped by Harris’ trey.
“I’m proud of our guys; we had opportunities to pack it in and didn’t,” Huggins said. “They really competed hard today.”
Sophomore Jaylen Bond made his first start of the season for Texas and the sixth of his UT career after missing most of the season with a left foot injury. The 6-foot-7 forward finished with no points and one rebound in 8 minutes.