No. 19 Men’s Basketball tops West Virginia

Image via University of Texas Athletics
Image via University of Texas Athletics

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Javan Felix scored 18 points and No. 19 Texas used another impressive offensive performance to beat West Virginia 88-71 on Saturday night, a victory that kept the Longhorns within a game of the Big 12 lead.

Texas (20-5, 9-3) put five players in double figures and shot better than 60 percent for most of the game.

Cameron Ridley scored 17 points and was a force on defense with three of Texas' five blocks, including two in the final minute of the first half. Jonathan Holmes, the Longhorns' leading scorer, had 11 in his return after missing a game with a knee injury.

Eron Harris scored 21 points for West Virginia (15-11, 7-6), which had surged up the league standings by winning four of five.

Texas also reached 20 wins for the 14th time in 16 seasons under coach Rick Barnes. This might have been the most significant, though, considering the Longhorns' dramatic turnaround from last season's 16-18 finish that left Texas out of the NCAA tournament for the first time in 15 years.

And by beating West Virginia, the Longhorns stayed just a game behind conference leader Kansas, with games against Iowa State and the Jayhawks next week.

Texas shot 61 percent in the first half, and Felix and Holmes both had 10 points by halftime. Texas' final shooting mark of 58 percent was just below the school record of 59 percent for a Big 12 game.

But even with those offensive fireworks, Texas controlled the game early behind a defense that created steals on the perimeter and all but locked down the lane behind Ridley's big body.

Demarcus Holland, who blew a layup off a turnover in the opening seconds, converted two layups off steals in a 17-2 Texas run that put the Longhorns up 28-16 when Felix made his first 3-pointers.

West Virginia fought to stay within 10, but Ridley's two blocks in the final 30 seconds sent the Longhorns into the break leading by 11.

Harris scored 12 in the half and Terry Henderson had 10 for the Mountaineers to keep the game from turning into a rout early.

West Virginia showed a hint of a rally when the Mountaineers scored five straight points to start the second half. A 3-pointer by Harris trimmed the Texas lead to six before the Longhorns responded with an 8-0 run.

Felix made another 3-pointer and Prince Ibeh had two dunks, both coming on quick catch-and-jumps that left his defender flat-footed, to put the Longhorns ahead 61-46 with 12:14 to play.



• Texas improves to 20-5 and 9-3 in Big 12 Conference play … this is the 14th time in 16 years under head coach Rick Barnes that Texas has secured a 20-win season.

• UT is off to its best 25-game start (20-5) to a season since 2010-11 (started 22-3). It marks the seventh time in the Rick Barnes era (last 16 years) that the Horns have opened the year with at least 20 wins in their first 25 contests (22-3 in 2005-06, 2010-11; 21-4 in 2003-04, 2007-08; 20-5 in 2002-03, 2009-10).

• Texas is now 4-3 all-time against West Virginia. The 19-point margin of victory was the largest in the all-time series. The previous was an 11-point margin of victory (Texas won 80-69 at West Virginia on Jan. 9, 2013).

• UT posted a 41-26 advantage on the glass. Texas has outrebounded 20 of its first 25 opponents and is 17-3 in those games.

• UT set a season high in FG percentage (.579, 33-of-57). This topped the previous mark of 52.7% (29-of-55) set at West Virginia (Jan. 13).

• Texas shot 60.7% (17-of-28) from the field in the first half for its highest FG% in a first half this year. It is the second-highest FG% in a half this season, as UT hit 68.2% (15-of-22) from the floor in the second half against Stephen F. Austin (Nov. 15).

• Texas shot 60.7% (17-of-28) from the field in the first half for its highest FG% in a first half this year. It is the second-highest FG% in a half this season, as UT hit 68.2% (15-of-22) from the floor in the second half against Stephen F. Austin (Nov. 15).

• UT has shot 50% or better from the field in each half this year against West Virginia. At WVU on Jan. 13, the Horns shot 16-of-32 (.500) in the first half and 13-of-23 (.565) in the second half. Tonight, Texas shot 17-of-28 (.607) in the first half and 16-of-29 (.552) in the second half.

• Texas matched a season high in assists with 18.

• The Longhorns outscored West Virginia 46-14 in the paint, matching the largest differential (+32) of the season (vs. South Alabama, 42-10). The 46 points in the paint also tied a season high (46 vs. DePaul on Nov. 26). The 46 points were a season high in Big 12 play (42 vs. Oklahoma on Jan. 4).

• The Horns held the Mountaineers to 39.7 percent (23-of-58) from the field. Texas is 16-0 when holding opponents under 40 percent from the floor this year.

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• Texas had five players in double figures for the fifth time this year and second time in Big 12 play (vs. SFA, vs. BYU, vs. DePaul, and vs. Oklahoma State).



Javan Felix

• Reached double figures in scoring (18 points) for the 16th time this season and 25th time in his career (58 games).

• Over the last two games, Felix is averaging 22.5 ppg (16-of-30 FG, 10-of-18 3FG) in 31.5 minutes per game.

Demarcus Holland

• Reached double figures in scoring (11 points) for the seventh time this season and 10th time in his career (59 games).

• First game in double-figure scoring since 10 points at Oklahoma State (Jan. 8) – a span of 11 games.

• Matched a career high in assists with seven

Jonathan Holmes

• Reached double figures in scoring (11 points) for the 18th time this season and 36th time in his career (86 games).

Connor Lammert

• Finished with a team-high eight rebounds

• Over the last four games, Lammert is averaging 7.3 rebounds in 22.5 minutes per game.

Cameron Ridley

• Reached double figures in scoring (17 points) for the 14th time this season and 16th time in his career (58 games).

• Matched a season high with two assists.

Isaiah Taylor

• Reached double figures in scoring (14 points) for the sixth straight game and 20th time this year (25 games).

• Over the last six games, Taylor is averaging 18.0 ppg (35-of-75 FG, 37-of-40 FT) in 32.8 mpg

Martez Walker

• Set a career high in rebounds with seven.


Texas Head Coach Rick Barnes

On Texas' defense: It was really a team effort in the fact that we felt our transition defense had to get all five guys back because he (Juwan Staten) is such a terrific open-court player. Look at the numbers, I don't know if there is another player in the country that is more efficient, more effective and we knew that having five guys back would help in transition. We fouled some 3-point shooters and that goes back to how we really weren't trying to run those guys off the line. We were getting too close, running into them and we gave them 12 points, or something like that, off fouling 3-point shooters. Overall, the defense might be as well as we've played defense all year. Really good effort there. Offensively, we really moved the ball, shared the ball. To get 18 assists means you're really keeping the ball popping.

 On fouling four shots beyond the arc: Yeah, I have to take the blame for it because we knew they could shoot it – they dropped 102 points the other night and can shoot it from the perimeter. Again, you've got to give Juwan (Staten) a lot of credit for that too because of all the attention we were trying to give him. I should have stressed more to run them off the line as opposed to running to them. That was all effort plays and we just got too close. I don't want to foul three-point shooters but I do like the effort that we made trying to be engaged based on what we were trying to get done.

 On Texas' engagement in this game: Today we came in and we were maybe as engaged as we've ever been. It was fun watching what they did at full speed. I thought we did a lot of good things – the things we talked about in the game plan. We moved the ball. We really had good ball movement.

(Story via


James Schleicher

James Schleicher is the publisher of Horns Illustrated magazine. He's also a fifth generation Texan and lifelong Austinite. Follow @HornsIllus twitter to keep up with all things Horns Illustrated.