This was certainly an effort — if one can call it that — that the Texas Longhorns will want to forget.
On Monday evening, the Horns suffered their worst loss of the season and one of worst of the Shaka Smart era, getting demolished on the road against the No. 14 West Virginia Mountaineers, 97-59.
To put into perspective the performance Texas’ put forth, Courtney Ramey opened the scoring with a transition layup — that would prove to be the Longhorns first and only lead of the evening. Worse yet, Texas was only able to keep the action competitive for a handful of minutes.
Just seconds after Ramey’s layup, Jermaine Haley responded with a layup of his own, sparking what became an 8-0 West Virginia run until Jericho Sims snapped the scoring drought — one of Texas’ many on Monday — with a wide-open dunk with 16:32 in the first half. Meanwhile, as the Mountaineers established themselves as the more physical and aggressive team on each end, Texas fell behind, 12-4, until Matt Coleman III connected on a triple.
It initially appeared as if Coleman’s bucket would spark a successful stretch for Texas, as Kamaka Hepa followed with a three of his own before Jase Febres did much of the same, cutting West Virginia’s lead to a single score, 15-13. Rather than continuing the sharpshooting, though, Texas didn’t score again until a Kai Jones jam with 8:39 remaining in the first half.
That bucket nearly trimmed the deficit to single digits, 23-15, but the Mountaineers erupted from that point forward.
As the Texas offensive completely stagnated and the defense committed one foul after another and allowed one offensive rebound after another, West Virginia enjoyed what ultimately ballooned into a 28-2 run until a connection from Gerald Liddell jumper with 1:47 remaining in the first half hardly made a dent in the sizable 43-17 deficit.
By the mid-way mark, the Mountaineers enjoyed a 45-20 cushion, thanks to a 28-to-12 edge in rebounds — 14 of those came on the offensive glass — only two turnovers to Texas’ 12, and only seven fouls committed to Texas’ 16.
Of course, an entire second half was still to be played, but considering what was essentially an insurmountable deficit, it largely didn’t matter — the game was long out of reach and a handful of minutes into the second half, the Mountaineers lead had reached 31 points while Texas gas just 26 points to its name.
Following its second straight loss to a ranked Big 12 foe, the Longhorns are now 12-6 overall and 2-4 in league action. Though the Big 12 slate is still young, Shaka Smart’s squad is quite rapidly approaching must-win mode if the Horns hope to make the NCAA Tournament for just the third time in Smart’s five seasons.
Next up, the Longhorns will return home to host the LSU Tigers on Saturday afternoon.