West Virginia-Texas Preview
Javan Felix put on a show earlier this week, leading Texas to an easy win with leading scorer Jonathan Holmes on the sidelines.
Coach Rick Barnes’ team could be in for a stiffer test against West Virginia, which is coming off its most impressive result of the season.
Holmes is uncertain to be available as the No. 19 Longhorns go for a sixth consecutive home win Saturday night against the Mountaineers.
After averaging 7.3 points and shooting 23.1 percent over a three-game stretch, Felix broke out with a game-high 27 as Texas (19-5, 8-3 Big 12) cruised to an 87-68 victory over Oklahoma State on Tuesday. The 5-foot-11 sophomore went 9 of 14 from the field and made a career-best six 3-pointers on eight attempts.
"Coach came up to me before the game and said ‘be aggressive and set the tone for your teammates.’ Especially with Jonathan out, that’s what I tried to do," Felix said. "I know I can make those shots and it’s just a matter of me taking them. That’s something my teammates got on me about, about stopping passing up shots."
Felix may be asked to carry the load again if Holmes can’t go. Holmes, hurt last Saturday in a 74-57 loss at Kansas State, is averaging 13.1 points and 7.4 rebounds.
Felix led the way with 19 points in an 80-69 victory at West Virginia on Jan. 13. Holmes scored just nine while shooting 2 of 7, but he pulled down 12 boards as the Longhorns outrebounded the Mountaineers 49-30.
West Virginia (15-10, 7-5) has won four of five, its only loss in that stretch coming by an 83-69 score at then-No. 8 Kansas last Saturday. The Mountaineers, who beat then-No. 21 Oklahoma 91-86 in overtime three days before, are coming off Monday’s 102-77 rout of No. 11 Iowa State.
Junior college transfer Remi Dibo scored a season-high 20 points and Juwan Staten had 19 as West Virginia posted its highest scoring total since 2007. The Mountaineers, who shot a season best-tying 59.1 percent (13 of 22) from beyond the arc, took a 52-33 lead into halftime.
They held the Cyclones to 36.6 percent from the floor, Iowa State’s second-worst mark this season.
"This helps us," coach Bob Huggins told the school’s official website. "This is a huge step to get us back RPI-wise where we’re supposed to be and get us back into the national conversation. But it’s not over with. We’ve got to go play Texas and do a much better job than what we did the first time we played them."
Staten, second in the conference with 18.3 points per game, has averaged 24.0 over the last four. He scored 23 against Texas last month.
The Mountaineers haven’t posted back-to-back wins over Top 25 teams since March 2 and 5, 2011. They have been outscored by an average of 13.9 points during a 13-game road losing streak against ranked opponents.
Texas is 19-1 when allowing fewer than 86 points, including 13-0 at home. West Virginia is averaging 72.8 as the visiting team, 12.3 less than its mark in Morgantown.