The WVU basketball team held on as long as it could, but an inspired Texas squad with a lot to play for made the right moves when needed.
On Saturday, the Longhorns beat the Mountaineers, 87-79, in overtime. Texas outscored the WVU basketball team, 15-7, in the extra period.
The game was a toss up all the way through. Neither team had a huge advantage West Virginia’s largest lead was six points and the Loghorns’ biggest lead was the fine nine-point differential.
For the Mountaineers, five players reached double figures with Lamont West scoring 15 to lead the way. Sagaba Konate added 14, Jevon Carter scored 12, while Esa Ahmad and James Bolden both had 10.
For the Longhorns, the duo of Matt Coleman and Kerwin Roach was tough to stop as they both scored 22 points. The Mountaineers were able to turn the Longhorns over 14 times, but the offense still ran effectively with a 56 percent shooting percentage. Dylan Osetkowski proved to be hard to handle as he went 5 of 7 on 3-pointers and finished with 15 points.
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Like in most WVU basketball games this season, there was a stark free throw disparity. Texas went to the line 28 times and West Virginia shot just 11. Still, the Mountaineers were 5 of 5 from the charity stripe in the first half.
Another deciding factor in the game was the rebounding disparity as Texas had 37 boards to 32 by the Mountaineers. Konate led with eight rebounds and he had one block. Texas was shorthanded as only seven players were in the lineup, but still, each player grabbed at least two rebounds.
This was a game Texas needed to win to burst the bubble and secure a berth in the NCAA Tournament. According to the Austin American-Statesman, the Longhorns can breathe a little easier knowing it now has a good chance to be in the big dance.
The WVU basketball team is now playing for better seeding in the NCAA Tournament. The Mountaineers also should have some pent-up anger as it faces from adversaries from the Big 12 in the upcoming conference tournament.
West Virginia definitely could win the Big 12 tournament. It could also get bounced in the first round. The initial test comes Thursday against Baylor in Kansas City.