The Texas Longhorns took out their frustrations on the West Virginia Mountaineers last Saturday with an emphatic 77-50 victory. The Longhorns raced out to a double digit lead in 10 minutes and more or less kept the margin at 10-15 points until a late WVU collapse led to the final score.
Texas fans know all too well the perils of bad shooting. The Mountaineers went just 24.1% from the field, and there's your ballgame. Certainly, some of that futility was due to Texas' excellent defense. Rick Barnes deployed the 2-3 zone and kept at it all night. Texas' zone packed the paint but granted WVU some open shots that the Mountaineers simply could not hit.
Mountie star Juwan Staten had a forgettable evening, scoring just 3 points on 1-7 shooting. His field goal came in the 39th minute. Jonathan Holton had 5 fouls in 8 minutes. Big man Devin Williams turned the ball over 5 times in 20, fouling out of the game as well. Not exactly a winning recipe for the basketballs.
On the flip side, Texas discovered how easy scoring is when you consistently get the ball to the bigs close to the basket. Cameron Ridley had his best game of the year, posting 18 points on 8-10 shooting and chipping in 6 boards and 4 blocks. Jonathan Holmes got beat up all night but added 16, as did Myles Turner. Both bigs got theirs at the charity stripe, with Holmes shooting 11-12 and Turner 9-9. The lobs and swats party reminded me of recent vintage Kentucky basketball, an allusion I believe Fran Fraschilla made in the broadcast.
Though Isaiah Taylor and Demarcus Holland had poor shooting nights--a combined 2-10 and 5 total points--both lead guards acquitted themselves very well against West Virginia's press. (Javan Felix and his 8 turnovers, not so much.) Kudos also goes to the bigs who camped out near half-court and were very effective at the catch and pass.
The bottom line is this is a Texas team that's capable of winning by 20 and losing by 20 over the final two months of the season. Which is a true statement for 9 of the 10 teams in the Big 12.
No rest for the victors. Texas takes on TCU tonight at 6 p.m. on ESPNU.