West Virginia Outlasts Scrappy Texas

  • By John Antonik
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  • January 14, 2017 07:07 PM
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Teyvon Myers scored a career-high 16 points and Jevon Carter added 15 to lead 10th-ranked West Virginia to a 74-72 victory Saturday over Texas at the Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.
Texas, with leading scorer Tevin Mack, had a six-point lead with 10:40 remaining in the game when Andrew Jones made one of his four 3-point baskets.
Here, two Myers free throws, and a Tarik Phillip traditional three-point play sliced the Texas lead to one in a matter 35 seconds. Another Phillip basket after he stole the ball from Kerwin Roach Jr. gave West Virginia a 54-53 lead.
Another Jones 3 tied the game at 60 with 6:55 to go but here is when Carter took over. A Carter free throw and then a steal in the open court led to a short jumper and a three-point lead.
Two more Carter free throws, coming after a terrific Sagaba Konate block on Shaquille Cleare’s turnaround jumper put West Virginia up by five, 65-60, with 3:52 left.
Another Carter jumper with 2:28 remaining answered Allen’s jumper to make it 68-65. Carter scored again with 1:42 left after two Kerwin Roach Jr. free throws.
A key play came with 43 seconds left when Nathan Adrian, battling a virus today, managed to grab Phillip’s missed 3 and was fouled by Allen. Adrian hit both free throws to put West Virginia ahead by four.
“Nate gets a huge offensive rebound there to where we could get some sort of control of the game,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins.
Two Carter free throws with 22 seconds left gave West Virginia enough room to hold on for a two-point road win - it’s first in Austin since 2013.
Texas won both games against West Virginia last year and claimed eight of 12 in the series before today’s game.
After trailing for most of the first half, WVU used a 22-13 run over the remaining 7:09 of the half to take a five-point lead at halftime.
Phillip contributed 14, giving West Virginia 30 points from its two guards coming off the bench. Including Carter’s 15, that’s 45 of West Virginia’s 74 points scored today.
“I’m shocked Tarik missed two free throws (at the end) and I told Tey to miss the second one (with 0.7 seconds left). You make it and they can take it out of bounds and set up a play. He missed that one on purpose,” said Huggins.
That made up for Daxter Miles Jr.’s struggles from the floor. The junior missed all six of his 3-point field goal tries today and finished with seven. Esa Ahmad also had a rough afternoon, committing five of the 15 turnovers West Virginia had today.
“We had some guys that struggled today,” said Huggins. “We had open shots. Dax had open shots and didn’t make any. Thank God Teyvon came in and played well.”
Adrian finished with 8 points and six rebounds, but spent a good portion of the first half on the bench with foul trouble.
“In all honesty it was probably a blessing that we couldn’t play Nate early because he’s sick. And he had enough energy (to play at the end of the game),” noted Huggins. “If we would have played him as much as we normally play him I don’t think he would have had any energy left.”
Allen led everyone with 19 points on six of seven shooting. Jones finished with 17 before fouling out with 3:23 remaining.
Texas (7-10, 1-4) made eight 3s and shot 47.9 percent from the floor. The Longhorns committed 19 turnovers, but West Virginia was only able to score 21 points off those turnovers.
“It hard for us to press when they play four guards and for the majority of the game they played basically four guards,” Huggins explained. “Compound that with the fact that we were incredibly loose with the ball.
“It was a hard to play, a hard game to coach and a hard game to watch.”
The Mountaineers were a frigid four of 18 from 3 against primarily a zone defense.
It was career win 806 for Huggins, tying him with Eddie Sutton for ninth place in NCAA Division I history.
West Virginia (15-2, 4-1) returns to the Coliseum to face Oklahoma on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. That game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.