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Texas bounces back with lopsided defeat of West Virginia

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AUSTIN, Texas — Texas had a week off to contemplate the direction of its season after consecutive double-digit losses in Big 12 play.

The Longhorns must have put the time to good use as they defeated 16th-ranked West Virginia, 77-50, on Saturday at the Frank Erwin Center.

In Texas’ previous home game, rival Oklahoma ran the Longhorns out of their own gym. The Sooners handed Texas a 21-point loss, then Texas went on the road and fell by 11 at Oklahoma State.

“The team we’ve been playing with the last month or so, if we came out playing like that they would have embarrassed us because they play really hard and they’re a really good team,” Texas forward Jonathan Holmes said. “Thank God we had a week to prepare and get our minds right and pick ourselves back up.”

The 20th-ranked Longhorns (13-4, 2-2 Big 12) asserted their style of play against West Virginia as Texas scored 28 points in the paint, out-rebounded the Mountaineers, 44-32, and made 31 of 37 free throws.

“They played the game the way they wanted to play it and we certainly didn’t play it the way we wanted to play it,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. “They imposed their will on us and we didn’t resound to it very well.”

West Virginia (15-3, 3-2) couldn’t overcome an early scoring drought. Then a mental mistake undermined the Mountaineers’ effort to climb back into the contest in the second half.

Texas led by 13 when West Virginia forward Devin Williams was whistled for an offensive foul in the paint. Williams reacted by grabbing a loose, dead ball and dunking it, drawing a technical.

“It’s not like we weren’t ready,” Huggins said. “We weren’t flat. You could argue we weren’t very smart. We just did dumb things.”

Though West Virginia climbed within 10 points in the second half, a pair of free throws by Holmes’ extended Texas’ lead to 15. The Mountaineers scored only three points after the Williams technical, which came with 9:04 left in the second half.

Center Cameron Ridley led Texas with 19 points and four blocked shots. Holmes scored 16 with 11 rebounds and forward Myles Turner had 16 points and seven boards.

Texas coach Rick Barnes said Ridley played a key role in setting the tone for the Longhorns.

“He was terrific in the middle of the zone and I thought he got himself ready offensively,” Barnes said.

Guard Gary Browne led West Virginia with 14 points. He shot 50 percent from the field, though the Mountaineers as a team made just 28 percent.

West Virginia started the game hot as forward Jonathan Holton hit a 3-pointer seven seconds into the contest. Then Holton came up with a steal and turned it into a dunk and a 5-0 lead after 29 seconds of play.

But West Virginia went cold from that point, scoring just two points in the next eight minutes of game time.

Texas took advantage with a combination of inside-outside punches. Texas guard Javan Felix and Holmes each hit 3-pointers, balanced by Ridley’s tip-in and baseline jump shot to power an 18-2 run. Ridley’s jumper, on an assist by forward Myles Turner, put the Longhorns ahead, 18-7, with 11:54 left in the first half.

Ridley finished the first 20 minutes with 12 points, four rebounds and three blocks.

West Virginia stayed within striking distance in the first half, using their pressure defense to force eight Texas turnovers, resulting directly in seven points. However, the Longhorns showed scrappy defense as well, turning 10 Mountaineer turnovers into 14 points.

The Longhorns finished the first half on a 4-0 mini run to take a 37-23 lead to halftime, their largest of the game to that point.

NOTES: Texas swept three games against West Virginia last season, winning all three contests by 11 or more points. … West Virginia entered with nine victories away from home this season, the most road/neutral wins in the nation. The Mountaineers had already won twice in two trips to Texas with road victories at TCU and Texas Tech. … West Virginia coach Bob Huggins entered the game tied with Henry Iba for 13th in career wins with

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