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No. 20 Texas pounds No. 16 West Virginia in key Big 12 battle

Prince Ibeh

AP Photo


After a rough start to the Big 12 season, No. 20 Texas got back on track in a resounding way on Saturday evening, as they blew out No. 16 West Virginia, 77-50.

The Mountaineers are one of the nation’s best pressing teams, relying heavily on their defense to force turnovers and create easy opportunities for them to score in transition. When they don’t force those turnovers and don’t get those easy baskets, they really struggle to score. You got a glimpse of that on Saturday. West Virginia shot just 24.1 percent from the floor and were by-and-large completely overmatched by the physical brand of defense played by the Longhorns.

Texas did commit 19 turnovers, but they limited their live-ball turnovers and they only committed eight in the first half, building a 37-23 lead at the break. Once they broke WVU’s pressure, Texas was able to pound the ball inside, where Cameron Ridley, Jonathan Holmes and Myles Turner just overwhelmed West Virginia’s big men; those three combined for 51 points and 24 boards, 10 of which were on the offensive end.

Isaiah Taylor continued to struggle since coming back from his wrist injury -- in four games, he’s averaging 8.3 points and shooting just 25.0 percent from the floor with 13 assists and 11 turnovers -- but it’s good news for Texas that Holmes and Turner played well. Holmes broke a streak of 11 consecutive missed threes and finished with 16 points, while Turner has continued to get better against high-level competition.

Texas snapped a two-game losing streak with the win. They were blown out by Oklahoma at home and followed that up with a loss at Oklahoma State.