Mountaineers Fall in Big 12 Quarterfinals

  • By John Antonik
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  • March 14, 2014 12:31 AM
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KANSAS CITY – Texas scored the game’s first 12 points and never looked back in depositing West Virginia 66-49 Thursday night in a Big 12 tournament quarterfinal matchup at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Jonathan Holmes scored 20 points and Jevan Felix added 16 to help the Longhorns (23-9) advance to tomorrow night’s semifinal game against Baylor, which defeated Oklahoma earlier tonight.
The other semifinal game features top-seeded Kansas against Iowa State.
In tonight’s second game, West Virginia (17-15) missed its first eight shots and finished the first half converting only 6 of 33 from the floor. By then the outcome was already decided with the Longhorns leading by 21 points at the break.
“First half I thought we were really good defensively, as good defensively as we’ve been for a while,” said Texas coach Rick Barnes.
In the second half, Texas was able to rest its starters with its lead swelling to as many as 30 points.
Reserve forward Brandon Watkins scored the first four points of the game for West Virginia and finished with a team-high 10 points. He was the only Mountaineer player to reach double figures.
First team all-Big 12 guard Juwan Staten was 1 of 9 shooting in the first half and finished the game 1 of 11 from the floor for 4 points before rolling his ankle midway through the second half. He spent the remainder of the game with ice on his ankle while sitting on the bench.
Eron Harris also struggled to get into the offensive flow, attempting just five shots and finishing with 3 points.
Staten and Harris were No. 1 and No. 4 in the Big 12 in scoring during the regular season, averaging a combined 36.3 points per game. Tonight they combined to score just 7 points.
“I certainly didn’t see it coming,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “I thought we had three enthusiastic days of practices. When you rely on jump shots it makes it extremely difficult.”
As it did in the prior two meetings, Texas dominated the paint on both ends of the floor and kept West Virginia from getting many easy baskets. The Longhorns had a 39-34 advantage on the glass and limited the Mountaineers to just 30.3 percent shooting for the game.
“They’re a long team,” said West Virginia guard Terry Henderson, who scored 8 points coming off the bench. “They deflected a lot of passes and we did a poor job of squaring up. I think we waited too late to flash in the middle and get some easy shots.
“We’re used to playing against a 2-3 zone and I don’t think it should have bothered us like it did.”
West Virginia will now wait to see if it will get an invitation to the NIT once the NCAA tournament field is selected on Sunday.