AUSTIN, Texas— In this past year, we have become accustomed to postponements and cancellations of games. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has impacted at least one of our team’s schedules at this point. But the ongoing weather crisis in Texas has added an extra layer of uniqueness to an already one-of-a-kind season. The 12th ranked Texas Longhorns (14-5) men’s basketball team had 2 of their games postponed this week because they were unable to board the flights due to the freezing weather. The first day of the week they were able to practice was Thursday. Some Longhorns, like many residents of Austin and across Texas, lost power this week.
On Saturday, Texas got back in action as they hosted the 13th ranked West Virginia Mountaineers (14-7). For Texas, the stoppage in games did not seem to slow them down; they came out shooting extremely well, finishing the first half shooting 70%; they lead at halftime 53-43.
However, West Virginia stormed back late in the second half thanks to some elite shooting of their own. Shooting 60% from behind-the-arc, they erased a 19-point deficit to come all the way back, defeating Texas 84-82. Junior guard Sean McNeil led the charge, shooting 3-5 from deep as his team finally regained the lead with under 5 minutes to go. Texas had the final shot, missed a wide-open three, but had a chance to inbound with 0.3 seconds remaining. Head coach Shaka Smart drew up a great baseline-out-of-bounds play for a Jericho Sims tip-in, but his look fell just short.
With these teams tied in the Big 12 standings coming in, West Virginia now jumps into sole possession of 4th place of the conference with an 8-4 conference record. Texas falls to 5th at 7- 5 in the Big 12.
Texas offense delivers early but stalls after an altercation
West Virginia has not met many teams with shooters like theirs. Shooting 39% from three as a team this year, they are the second-best shooting team in Bob Huggins’ career. But Texas was on another level shooting in this game, especially from three. They finished the game shooting 54% from three, drilling 14-26.
Guard Courtney Ramey led the way shooting; he finished with a career-high 28 points on 7-8 shooting from 3. His shot-making ability made him the clear leader of the offense. His perimeter shooting opened up driving lanes, which drew the attention of the West Virginia defense. That opened up the floor for players like Matt Coleman III to be extremely efficient; he shot 8-9 from the floor and 4-5 from deep as he finished with 20 points.
However, a key moment in the second half stalled the Texas offense; during a timeout, Ramey and teammate Andrew Jones got into a heated argument on the Texas bench. Ramey was seemingly upset with Jones’s defensive effort. Whatever the case, that moment seemed to sway the momentum of the game, as West Virginia mounted their comeback following that altercation.
Ramey would sit for a majority of West Virginia’s run with 4 fouls. His offense was much needed, and when he finally reentered the game, Texas went on a run. He dropped in back-to- back three-pointers to reclaim the lead momentarily. But on the next defensive possession, Ramey fouled-out, and West Virginia was able to seal the comeback victory.
West Virginia had a balanced offensive attack. Five different Mountaineers scored in double- figures as they shot an impressive 48% from three as a team. Miles McBride led the way with 17 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds.
No. 12 Texas vs. No. 13 Kansas, Tuesday, February 23, Frank Erwin Center, Austin, TX
No. 13 West Virginia @ TCU, Tuesday, February 23, Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena, Fort Worth, TX