Longhorns take out frustrations on West Virginia in dominating, and important, victory

On3 imageby:Steve Habel02/10/24

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AUSTIN – If Texas was looking for a game and an opponent to take out all the frustrations endured over the up-and-down first 10 contests of the Big 12 Conference campaign, it found the correct one in struggling West Virginia, romping past the overmatched Mountaineers 94-58 on Saturday afternoon in Moody Center.

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Dylan Disu continued his outstanding offensive play, scoring 27 points – 19 of them in the dominating first half – to pace Texas. Tyrese Hunter and Max Abmas added 19 points each for the Longhorns, with Chendall Weaver tallying 13 and Dillon Mitchell hitting for 12 points.

The Longhorns (16-8, 5-6 in Big 12 play) put together their most complete first half of the season, building a 27-point lead just before halftime and cruising to the finish line. 

“This is the way we should have been playing all year,” said Abmas, who is now 14 points away from 3,000 for his career. “The big thing for us is being consistent and continuing to learn and grow and improve.”

Texas poured it on in the second half to avenge a loss to the Mountaineers in the teams’ first meeting this season and flex a little bit after losing three of its past four games before Saturday’s victory. With the Longhorns not playing again until Feb. 17, coach Rodney Terry kept his starters In the game until just 4:40 remained, during which Texas built its lead to 37 points.

“We felt like we had the correct mindset from the jump, and just carried that on through the rest of the game,” Disu said. 

The Longhorns fashioned a 16-0 run beginning at the 7:43 mark of the second half to add insult to injury. Texas was up by 43 points with 3:13 remaining, allowing plenty of margin for the deep bench players and the team’s walk-ons to finish the game. 

Texas’ 28 total assists set a team record for a Big 12 game. Abmas had a career-high nine of those assists.

Jesse Edwards led the Mountaineers (8-15, 3-7 Big 12) with 17 points and a game-high 9 rebounds while Noah Farrakhan added 11 points and RaeQuan Battle had 10. West Virginia has dropped four of its past five games and remains winless on the road.

The Longhorns took charge early, breaking away from a game tied at 7 by scoring the ensuing 11 points, with the run capped by a 3-pointer by Abmas as the 16:21 mark of the first half. Texas pushed its advantage to 32-14 with 9:26 to play in the half and kept pouring it on, leading by 22 points when Mitchell hit a layup off an assist by Hunter with 7:37 remaining.

Texas eventually stoked the margin to 26 points after Abmas poured in a 3-pointer with 3:16 to play before halftime. Another Abmas basket from deep gave the Longhorns a 55-28 lead at the break, marking Texas’ biggest offensive output in an opening half this season.

“This was one of our better starts of the year in terms of first four minutes of the game coming out and really just sitting down on defense and going really hard and competing at a very high level,” Terry said. “We came ready to compete at a very high level and kept at it from start to finish.”

Disu poured in 19 points before halftime to lead all scorers while Mitchell added 10 for Texas. The Longhorns outshot West Virginia 65.7 percent to 50 percent in the first half and made nearly as many shots (23) as the Mountaineers attempted (24) over the first 20 minutes.

“Texas was ready to play and maybe had a little something to prove after struggling the past few games, and they certainly played well today,” West Virginia coach Josh Eilert said. “We didn’t do a good job against their ball screens in the first half and they made us pay. It seemed like they hit every shot and we were struggling to even get shots.”

Edwards led the Mountaineers with 13 points in the first half but West Virginia was doomed by 10 turnovers that Texas converted into 19 points before the break.

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Texas returns to the floor on Feb. 17 when it travels to Houston for a rematch with the fifth-ranked Cougars.

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