No. 11 West Virginia topped Texas in the second round of the Big 12 Tournament Thursday. The Longhorns struggled to keep pace with the Big 12’s No. 2 seed, and the Mountaineers pulled away for a 63-53 victory in Kansas City.
Here are three takeaways from the Longhorns’ loss
Field-goal droughts sinks Texas
Texas didn’t appear fazed in a matchup against a team it’s already lost to twice. The Longhorns stuck with West Virginia from the opening tip, dueling the Mountaineers to a 29-29 game with 3:30 left in the first half.
But the burnt orange went cold late in the first half. It failed to score a field goal for the period’s final seven minutes. The drought allowed the Mountaineers to stack up a nine-point lead before the break.
The Longhorns never recovered; West Virginia held the lead despite shooting 31 percent in the period. The Mountaineers held the Longhorns to just two points in the final five minutes to seal the win.
Jevon Carter led the way for Bob Huggins’ team, racking up 21 points for the game. He already torched Texas twice this season with 17 and 24-point performances earlier in the year.
Texas finished the game with just two players in double digits — freshman guard Andrew Jones put up 13 points and senior guard Kendal Yancy chipped in 11.
Longhorns’ season comes to an end
After pulling out an improbable victory against Texas Tech in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament, Texas’ momentum came crashing down on Thursday night as the Mountaineers pulled away for a 10-point victory.
Head coach Shaka Smart’s team’s is unlikely to receive any postseason bids after finishing 10-21 in the regular season, and the Longhorns’ year is probably over with the loss.
Texas went through a variety of ups and downs throughout the campaign, including the suspension Tevin Mack. The South Carolina missed nearly all of Big 12 play before getting released from his scholarship on Feb. 27. The Longhorns’ struggles came after the team was picked to finish third in the conference in the Big 12’s preseason poll and started the season ranked No. 21.
The burnt orange finish the year with their fifth-worst winning percentage (33 percent) since 1950. It’s just the second time they’ve ended their season with a losing record this millennium.
Freshmen decisions loom large
Smart will be on pins and needles over the next few weeks with NBA Draft decisions looming. The second-year head coach lost his leading scorer in Isaiah Taylor to an early draft entree last year, and he may suffer the same fate this summer.
Both guard Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen have massive choices to make. The two freshmen displayed tons of promise despite the Longhorns’ brutal season, serving as the team’s top-2 scorers throughout Big 12 play.
And NBA scouts have taken notice. According to ESPN’s Chad Ford, both Jones and Allen should receive first-round consideration if they choose to enter. Ford lists Jones at No. 27 overall and Allen at No. 16.
Losing Jones or Allen, let alone both, would be a tough blow for a young Texas team that hopes to turn the corner next season. The team should benefit from the addition of four-star point guard Matt Coleman, and he would help complete an enticing young trio if the two key freshmen stay.
Either way, Jones and Allen have plenty of options after shining in their first year