MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Javan Felix scored 19 points, on 8-of-13 shooting, as Texas beat West Virginia 80-69 Monday night.
Cameron Ridley added 12 points and 12 rebounds for Texas (13-4, 2-2 Big 12). It was Ridley’s fourth double-double of the season. Isaiah Taylor and Martez Walker each tallied 10.
West Virginia (10-7, 2-2) lost for the second straight time in Big 12 play after starting its league card at 2-0. The loss for WVU marked the first time the Mountaineers had been downed by double-figures this year.
Juwan Staten, who entered the game ranked fifth in the league in scoring (17 points per game) and second in the conference in assists (6.1), finished with 23 points and five assists. He was followed by Terry Henderson’s 16 and Remi Dibo’s 10. It was Henderson’s fifth straight double-figure effort for the Mountaineers. True freshman Brandon Watkins had five blocks.
Texas’ double-digit nod changed a previous five-game, all-time set between these teams which had been decided by 11 total points. The series is knotted at three apiece.
Ridley, a 6-foot-9, 285-pound sophomore, has reached double figures in scoring nine times this season.
The Longhorns entered the bout as the Big 12’s leading rebounding squad with an average of 41.8 per game. Texas owned a 49-30 cushion and grabbed 39 defensive rebounds to West Virginia’s 19. The Longhorns held a 34-30 edge in points in the paint and enjoyed a 12-5 lead in second-chance points.
That was due to the work of Jonathan Holmes (12 rebounds) and Ridley, who each doubled the Mountaineers’ leading rebounder, true freshman Brandon Watkins, who hauled down six caroms. Watkins enjoyed five blocks in 14 minutes.
To pace itself with the board-hungry Longhorns, West Virginia had to find points from outside and beyond the three-point arc.
West Virginia connected on just 4 of 25 triples (16 percent) and were 37.7 percent (26 of 69) from the field. At one point, the Mountaineers missed 15 consecutive three-pointers.
Eron Harris entered the game as the league’s second-leading scorer (18.1), but scored just six points before fouling out. He was 3 of 11 from the floor, 0 for 7 from beyond the arc.
After trailing by 14 at the half and 19 about three minutes into the second-half action, West Virginia showed signs of life.
The Mountaineers rattled off seven straight points at one stint and were down 48-36 with 15:23 to go. The Horns stretched their lead back to 19 with 12:24 showing.
West Virginia got it down to 14 twice, but the Longhorns, who started going to the line midway through the second half, jutted out to an 18-point lead with 7:34 to go.
Demarcus Holland’s field goal with 2:25 left pushed Texas ahead by 15, but Mountaineers climbed with 78-67 with 1:22 left.
West Virginia took the two games against Texas in 2012-13.
This year, Texas has out-rebounded opponents 14 times in 17 games. The Longhorns are 12-2 when shooting 40 percent or better from the field.
The Longhorns are the Big 12’s youngest team, starting one freshman, three sophomores and one junior. The Mountaineers are close behind. They started two juniors, two sophomores and a freshman.