Saturday's Top 25: No. 13 West Virginia rallies from 19 down, tops No. 12 Texas
Austin, Texas — Bob Huggins didn’t divulge exactly how he lit into his West Virginia team at halftime when it trailed Texas by 10 points.
“You wouldn’t want to print what was said,” the Mountaineers coach said.
The message registered. Sean McNeil and No. 13 West Virginia erased a 19-point deficit in the second half, then withstood a flurry of last-second misses to hold off No. 12 Texas 84-82 on Saturday.
“We were about as bad as we could be in the first half,” Huggins said. “This group will step up and try to meet the challenge.”
McNeil played only two minutes in the first half after picking up two fouls, and scored all 16 of his points after the break. He also committed two turnovers in the final 11 seconds, giving Texas a chance.
With Texas down by two, the Longhorns’ Matt Coleman III missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw situation with eight seconds left. The Longhorns got the ball back, but Andrew Jones’ 3-point attempt rimmed out with four seconds left – he had made a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left to beat West Virginia 72-70 on Jan. 9.
Texas had one last try, with three-tenths of a second left, on an inbounds pass after Jones missed. But Jericho Sims missed inside after taking a lob pass from Coleman.
“We had things rolling the first 25 minutes, and we let it go,” Coleman 111 said.
Miles McBride scored 17 for West Virginia (15-6, 8-4 Big 12), which was down 62-43 early in the second half. Taz Sherman, Emmitt Matthews Jr. and Derek Culver scored 14 apiece.
Courtney Ramey scored a career-best 28 points for Texas, including a career-high seven 3-point baskets in eight attempts.
Ramey’s consecutive 3-pointers gave Texas an 82-81 lead with 2:55 left, but he fouled out 28 seconds later, and the Longhorns didn’t score again. Sherman, trying to induce the fifth foul from Ramey, successfully used a pump fake and made two free throws to give West Virginia a lead it never lost.
Coleman scored 20 for Texas (13-6, 7-5) and had seven assists. Sims added 14.
Texas led by 19 Ramey made two 3-pointers and Coleman one during the first two minutes of the second half. McNeil eventually heated up for the Mountaineers, hitting a pair of 3s, the second one cutting the deficit to nine with 15 minutes left.
Texas shot 70 percent from the field while taking a 53-43 halftime lead. The 6-foot-10 Sims had four dunks and a layup in the first six minutes.
Sims left the game less than a minute later after picking up his second foul. He wasn’t the only Longhorn in foul trouble – four teammates also had two in the half, including Brock Cunningham, who was hit with a common foul and a technical after he attempted to block a shot.
The officials called 13 fouls on Texas in the half, five more than they assessed West Virginia. The Mountaineers made 15 free throws, including four after Cunningham’s foul and technical, preventing Texas from creating further separation.
After the Longhorns attained more distance in the second half, West Virginia went to work using improved shooting and tougher defense.
“We got them to take some shots that were questionable,” Matthews Jr. said.
Said Texas coach Shaka Smart, “They ramped up their defensive intensity, and we got a little tentative. And they made some tough shots.”
More Top 25
►(At) No. 1 Gonzaga 106, San Diego 69: Drew Timme scored 17 of his 21 points in the first half, Jalen Suggs added 17 points and Gonzaga won its 26th straight game, routing San Diego.
Corey Kispert added 16 points to help Gonzaga (22-0, 13-0 West Coast) get its 14th straight victory against San Diego and 49th consecutive win at home.
The Bulldogs are a win away from matching a program best 50-game home winning streak. Gonzaga will have a chance to break the mark next week with home games against Santa Clara and Loyola Marymount that were rescheduled to make up for earlier postponements.
Josh Parish led San Diego (3-8, 2-5) with 13 points.
►(At) Duke 77, No. 7 Virginia 65: Freshman Jaemyn Brakefield scored the go-ahead basket on a reverse layup with 1:58 left and Duke came up with a final-possession stop. Matthew Hurt scored 22 points to lead the Blue Devils (10-8, 8-6 Atlantic Coast Conference). They claimed a much-needed third straight win to improve their uncertain chances of making the NCAA Tournament.
Brakefield’s scoring drive, while drawing a foul on Jay Huff, finally got Duke a slim lead. Freshman DJ Steward had a chance to increase the margin, but missed the front end of a 1-and-1 free-throw opportunity with 9.6 seconds left.
Huff got the rebound and got the ball to Kihei Clark, who bobbled the dribble at the other end to lose time and had to force up an off-balance 3-point attempt over Hurt to beat the clock. The ball was well short, with Huff catching the airball and stuffing it in well past the final horn.
Huff finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Cavaliers (15-5, 11-3). They followed a blowout loss at No. 16 Florida State with a second loss this week in yet another close matchup with the Blue Devils.
►(At) No. 8 Alabama 82, Vanderbilt 78: Jaden Shackelford scored a season-high 27 points and Alabama beat Vanderbilt to move within a victory of clinching at least a share of its first Southeastern Conference regular-season title in 19 years.
Jahvon Quinerly made a late 3-pointer and a clinching free throw with 2 seconds left to help Alabama (18-5, 13-1) turn back the Commodores (6-12, 2-10).
Scotty Pippen Jr. scored 24 points for Vanderbilt.
►No. 9 Oklahoma 66, (at) Iowa State 56: Austin Reaves scored 20 points to lead Oklahoma past Iowa State.
The Sooners (14-5, 9-4 Big 12) have won three third straight.
Iowa State (2-16, 0-13) trailed by as many as 21 in the first half before rallying to a 46-45 lead on Tre Jackson’s 3-pointer with 11:29 remaining. The Sooners responded with a 16-4 run.
Rasir Bolton led Iowa State with 14 points and six assists.
►(At) No. 10 Villanova 68, UConn 60: Collin Gillespie scored 20 points and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had 17 points and 11 rebounds to help Villanova beat UConn.
Justin Moore added 11 points for the Wildcats (14-3, 9-2 Big East).
James Bouknight, in his second game back after missing eight due to elbow surgery, scored 21 points for the Huskies (10-6, 7-6).
►(At) No. 23 Kansas 67, No. 15 Texas Tech 61: Christian Braun hit a corner 3 with 24 seconds left, David McCormack scored 17 points and Kansas beat Texas Tech.
Ochai Agbaji had 14 points, and Jalen Wilson added 11 for the (17-7, 11-5 Big 12). Braun and Marcus Garrett each had 10 points.
Marcus Santos-Silva and Kevin McCullar each scored 12 points for Texas Tech (14-7, 6-6).
►No. 16 Florida State 79, (at) Pittsburgh 72: Raiquan Gray had 16 points and eight rebounds and Florida State beat Pittsburgh for its third straight victory.
Malik Osborne had 12 points and nine rebounds, and RayQuan Evans also scored 12 points for the Seminoles (13-3, 9-2 Atlantic Coast Conference),
Justin Champagnie had 21 points and 10 rebounds for Pitt (9-9, 5-8).
►Arizona 81, (at) No. 17 Southern California 72: James Akinjo scored 20 points and Arizona beat Southern California to end the Pac-12-leading Trojans’ seven-game winning streak.
Jordan Brown had 19 points and 13 rebounds. Azuolas Tubelis added 16 points and a career-high 15 rebounds for the Wildcats (15-8, 9-8 Pac-12), who gave coach Sean Miller his 300th victory in program history while avoiding their first three-game skid of the season.
Evan Mobley scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half for the Trojans (18-4, 12-3).
►Kentucky 70, (at) No. 19 Tennessee 55: Isaiah Jackson scored 16 points and Kentucky matched a season high with its third straight victory, beating Tennessee.
Davion Mintz hit all five of his 3-point shots in the first half and had 15 points for the Wildcats (8-13, 7-7 Southeastern Conference),
Victor Bailey scored 18 points for the Volunteers (15-6, 8-6).
►No. 20 Missouri 93, (at) South Carolina 78: Dru Smith scored 17 points, Mark Smith had 13 and Missouri beat South Carolina to end a three-game losing streak.
The Tigers (14-6, 7-6 Southeastern Conference) opened a 19-point lead in the first half and stayed comfortably in front the rest of the way.
AJ Lawson had 22 points for South Carolina (5-11, 3-9). The Gamecocks have lost five in a row.
►No. 25 San Diego State 75, (at) Fresno State 57: Jordan Schakel scored 14 points – 12 on 3-pointers in the first half – and San Diego State beat Fresno State for its eighth straight victory.
Matt Mitchell and Terrell Gomez scored 13 apiece for the Aztecs (17-4, 11-3 Mountain West).
Deon Stroud scored 17 points for Fresno State (9-9, 7-9).