AUSTIN, Texas — The Longhorns got the shot they wanted.
Trailing by a bucket with 0.3 seconds remaining, Texas guard Matt Coleman got an inbound pass between the outstretched arms of 6-10 WVU forward Seny Ndiaye and into the hands of teammate Jericho Sims, who somehow found a gap between a pair of defenders on his way to the rim. Two Mountaineers closed quickly on Sims, but his lay-in with 0.3 seconds left fell short, leaving the Longhorns with an 84-82 loss to West Virginia at the Frank Erwin Center.
The loss left No. 12 UT with a 13-6 record, including a 7-5 mark against Big 12 opponents. Texas is 7-5 at home and has lost four of its last six games. West Virginia salvaged the split of the season series with the Horns, improved to 15-6 overall, and improved to 8-4 in conference games to jump in front of their hosts in the conference standings.
After coughing up a lead that topped out at 19 points, the Longhorns had an eerily familiar chance to win the game. When Texas won the first game Jan. 9 in Morgantown, guard Andrew Jones canned the game-winning three-pointer from the corner to lift the Longhorns to the road victory. In Sunday’s rematch, the Longhorns got an inbound pass to guard Matt Coleman outside the three-point line. Unable to get free for a shot, Coleman passed to Jones, who had a chance to repeat his last-second heroics, but this time his would-be three-pointer was off-target with 4 seconds left. The rebound went out of bounds off of West Virginia, setting up the last-second lob to Sims.
Guard Courtney Ramey was sensational Sunday, pouring in a game-high and career-high 28 points before fouling out with 2:27 to go. He shot 9-of-13 (69.2 percent) from the floor, including an absurd 7-of-8 (87.5 percent) on three-pointers; by comparison, Ramey entered the game shooting 40.9 percent from the floor, and 40.5 from long range.
But Ramey was not the only Longhorn who was locked in Sunday. Coleman scored 20 points, shooting 8-of-9 field goals, including 4-of-5 three-pointers, and Sims added 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting.
That, however, was it for the Longhorns. Those three players combined to hit 24 of 31 field goals, including 11 of 13 three-pointers; everyone else shot a combined 8-of-28 (28.6 percent), and 3-of-13 from behind the arc.
The Mountaineers had five players who scored in double figures, led by guards Miles McBride and Sean McNeil, who had 17 and 16 points, respectively. Tax Sherman, Emmitt Matthews and Derek Culver added 14 points apiece.
The remaining games on the schedule get no easier for the Longhorns. No. 23 Kansas, which beat No. 15 Texas Tech Sunday, comes to the Erwin Center Tuesday for an 8 p.m. ESPN game in which the Jayhawks will be hoping to avenge the 84-59 they took Jan. 2 from UT in Lawrence. The Horns then close out the regular season next Saturday at 11 a.m. against Texas Tech, which already beat Texas Jan. 13 in Austin.