Faced with an opportunity to capture a key road win and continue to build a respectable NCAA Tournament résumé on the road against the West Virginia Mountaineers, the Texas Longhorns did exactly that, and did so in convincing fashion, cruising to a 75-53 win behind a bevy of runs and career showing from Courtney Ramey.
In what rapidly — though unsurprisingly — spiraled into a foul-plagued first half, Jaxson Hayes became the whistle-happy refs first victim. Hayes was whistled for his second foul just 2:34 into the action — at this juncture, Hayes’ foul total matched the point total, as the Longhorns captured the first points and a 2-0 lead.
It wasn’t until a Esa Ahmad jump shot at the 16:00 mark that West Virginia finally appeared on the scoreboard. Just seconds later, Kerwin Roach II connected on the first of two three-pointers within a 45-second span, stretching the Longhorns’ lead to 10-2. That was, at least, until West Virginia found its footing a bit, piecing together a 6-0 run and ultimately trimming Texas’ edge to 12-8 entering the under-12 media timeout.
The Mountaineers continued to chip away at the Longhorns lead coming out of the break, as Jase Febres gifted Wesley Harris with a trip to the free throw line for three attempts. Not to be outdone, though, Elijah Mitrou-Long answered and joined the action with a three of his own just a couple possessions later, and then after another couple of possessions, Courtney Ramey connected from deep to push Texas’ cushion to 18-12; the first three of his 19 points, which ties a career-high.
In continuing with the sudden theme of triples, Chase Hartler joined the fun with a three to keep West Virginia within arms reach, but the rest of the half became a game of runs.
After Texas took a 20-15 lead into the under-eight media timeout, Jericho Sims tallied an and-one opportunity, though he did miss the free throw. Moments later, Ramey found Sims for an alley-oop, extending Texas’ lead to 24-15 and forcing a WVU timeout.
A Derek Culver free throw and Ahmad drive and finish at the rim made for a quick 3-0 Mountaineers’ spurt, but Ramey then responded by burying yet another three. Suddenly nearing a double-digit deficit, West Virginia amassed some momentum when a Jermaine Haley three sparked a 10-2 Mountaineers run, cutting the Longhorns lead to 29-28 and forcing a timeout.
Texas took control of the final minutes, though, as Ramey sank his third three of the half to lead the Longhorns to a 5-1 run and a 34-29 halftime edge.
The second half kicked off in similar fashion to the first — with a Texas run.
Roach sparked the scoring with a quick dunk after a great backdoor cut, and then Ramey’s fourth three of the evening pushed the Longhorns lead to 39-29; their largest of the game.
That lead only continued to swell, though. After watching the vast majority of the first half from the sidelines, Hayes cashed in on alley-oop from Matt Coleman III, and then cashed in on an and-one opportunity. Following this brief 10-1 spurt, Texas collectively opened the two halfs on a 20-3 run.
The onslaught continued, though.
After a Roach drive and layup, a Culver powerful post move capped a 4-0 WVU run, and the Mountaineers were suddenly within earshot of a single-digit deficit.
But then the Longhorns erupted.
Another Roach layup was followed by a Febres three, ballooning the lead to 51-35 and forcing a West Virginia timeout. Coming out of that quick conversation, Roach cruised in for another layup to give himself eight quick points in the half. Ramey then drilled yet another triple before a Sims alley-oop jam, and then another alley-oop dish from Roach to Ramey capped a 12-0 Texas run, which inflated the lead to 60-35, and essentially pushed the game out of reach.
Texas and West Virginia matched each other’s outputs throughout the next eight-plus minutes before garbage time, but the 10-to-10 scoring output throughout that stretch mattered not towards the ultimate outcome; a blowout victory for the Longhorns.
Ramey led all scorers and did so on a tremendous efficient shooting display, sinking 5-6 looks from three and 7-of-12 from the field, in addition to five rebounds, four assists, and one steal. Roach was the only other Longhorn to join him in double figures, totaling 14 points on a 6-of-10 shooting performance.
Similarly, Ahmad totaled 14 points for the Mountaineers, but the rest of the starting cast collectively contributed only 19 points.
Fresh off of its first road win since the Big 12 opener, Texas improves to 14-10 on the season and 6-5 in conference play after capturing three wins in four games. The Longhorns will now head home and get set to host the the red-hot, Big 12-headlining Kansas State Wildcats on Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. Central.