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No. 20 Texas escapes West Virginia with 82-81 win

Timmy Allen scored 26 points to lead the way for the Longhorns.

NCAA Basketball: Texas at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 20 Texas Longhorns overcame an eight-point deficit with 8:18 remaining to pull out an 82-81 victory over the West Virginia Mountaineers in Morgantown on Saturday.

Senior forward Timmy Allen scored 26 points to lead the Longhorns, making 12-of-16 free-throw attempts, senior guard Marcus Carr added 15 points in an efficient performance, hitting all six of his field-goal attempts, and senior guard Jase Febres scored 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting from distance in a key contribution off the bench. Febres finished plus-16 in his 21 minutes.

During the 12-3 run that allowed Texas to get back into the game in the second half, Allen scored seven points and Febres hit a big three to take a 72-71 lead. Allen then scored the next six points for the Horns and Carr hit two big baskets late, a jumper and a wrong-footed layup, to give Texas an 82-78 lead with 1:10 remaining.

Hanging on for the victory wasn’t easy — West Virginia guard Malik Curry, who scored a career-high 27 points, hit a layup and was fouled with 11 seconds left and senior guard Andrew Jones lost the ball off his foot on the ensuing inbounds pass to give the Mountaineers a chance to win the game. But Curry left a step-back jumper over Allen on the front of the rim and the Longhorns secured the rebound. When Allen missed both free throws, West Virginia wasn’t able to get a final shot off, losing for the 13th time in the last 14 games.

Both teams started 4-of-6 shooting as West Virginia took a 9-8 lead into the under-16 timeout after successfully spacing Texas defensively and regularly getting to the rim without much resistance, making three early layups.

By the next media timeout, the Longhorns were on a 14-3 run thanks to 8-of-11 shooting from the field as Texas took advantage of a porous West Virginia defense. With Jones and senior guard Febres both hitting shots, the Horns extended the shot-making streak to 10-of-13 shooting.

A potential swing in the game happened when Texas junior guard Brock Cunningham was called for a flagrant foul in transition after coming down hard with his arm through Malik Curry in transition. After review, Cunningham was ejected for extreme contact.

As the Longhorns took a 32-24 lead with less than six minutes remaining in the first half, they had made nine of their last 10 shots from the field. A three by Jones extended the lead to 35-26, the largest of the game for Texas.

The Horns went into halftime with a 43-37 lead after shooting 65.2 percent from the field. In the second half, Texas struggled with turnovers, giving the ball away nine times, but continued to play at a highly-efficient level when they were able to get shots up, hitting 14 free throws and making 61.1 percent of their shots from the field.

Texas plays its final game at the Erwin Center on Big Monday against No. 10 Baylor.