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No. 16 Mountaineers suffer blowout loss in hostile Austin

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Gary Browne (#14) was the lone positive for the Mountaineers on Saturday night as he recorded a team-high 14 points (photo via: Reese Strickland/USA Today Sports)

Gary Browne (#14) was the lone positive for the Mountaineers on Saturday night as he recorded a team-high 14 points (photo via: Reese Strickland/USA Today Sports)

The 16th ranked West Virginia University Men’s basketball team suffered their worst loss of the season Saturday night after converting only 24% of their shots from the field. Texas took full advantage of this as they walloped the Mountaineers 77-50 in front of a packed house inside the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, TX.

West Virginia opened the game on a 5-0 run as junior forward Jonathan Holton got the Mountaineers going with a clutch three-point bucket just eight seconds into the prime time showdown. “Sponge” would follow up his trey with a thunderous dunk 20 seconds later after Demarcus Holland turned the ball over on the impending Texas possession.

The Holton scoring sequence would prove to be the only highlight produced by the Mountaineers on this night as Texas would quickly counter with a lengthy 18-2 run which all began with a harmless lay-up bucket by Cameron Ridley at the 18:08 mark of the period.

The closest the Mountaineers came to closing in on the Texas lead was when senior guard Gary Browne converted a feed from Elijah Macon into two points at the 10:41 mark of the first half. The bucket drew West Virginia within seven points of the mounting Longhorn lead. Texas would go on to outscore West Virginia 13-11 in the final 10 minutes of the half to take a 37-23 lead into the break.

The second half would prove no better as the Mountaineers made just 6 of their 29 attempts in the period, which would of course open the door for the Longhorns to further pile on. At one point, Texas was up by as much as 29 points before Juwan Staten hit a lay-up with just 1:08 left to play as the Mountaineers would lose by 27.

On the evening, WVU was just 13 of 59 from the field giving them a season-low team field goal percentage of 24.1%. While this unbelievably awful shooting effort seems to stand out as a major reason for the team’s demise, WVU was not any better in any other facet of the basketball game. The Longhorns finished the night with a 44-32 advantage in rebounds, while forcing the Mountaineers into 17 turnovers.

The front court of Texas stood out in a proud manner on Saturday night as junior center Cameron Ridley registered a game-high 19 points in the victory. He finished the game 8 of 10 from the field, and added six rebounds, and four blocked shots to his impressive stat line.

Juwan Staten (#3) continues to struggle as he recorded just three points in Saturday night's loss (photo via: All-Pro Photography/Dale Sparks)

Juwan Staten (#3) continues to struggle as he recorded just three points in Saturday night’s loss (photo via: All-Pro Photography/Dale Sparks)

Texas had two other shooters reach double-digits on the night as freshman forward Myles Turner finished the evening 3 of 8 from the field, and a perfect 9 of 9 from the foul line for 16 points, seven rebounds, a block, and an assist. Senior forward Jonathan Holmes was the only player to record a double-double in the game as he finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Gary Browne finished the night as the leading scorer for the Mountaineers as he went 4 of 8 from the field, and 5 of 7 from the foul line for a team-high 14 points, along with three steals, two assists, and two rebounds. Juwan Staten had another off night as he finished the contest 1 of 7 from the field for just three points.

The Mountaineers drop to 15-3 overall, and 3-2 in Big XII conference play following their most recent defeat. The Longhorns improve to 13-4 overall, and 2-2 in league play after earning this impressive victory. WVU will have a full week to recover from tonight’s loss as they jump back into action next Saturday afternoon when they host the 14-3 TCU Horned Frogs at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown. Tip-off is slated for 2:00PM, and the game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.

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