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Jevon Carter's late surge lift No. 10 West Virginia past Texas

By Steve Habel, The Sports Xchange

AUSTIN, Texas -- Be it the grueling travel from the heart of Appalachia or the fact that West Virginia always brings out the best in Texas, the 10th-ranked Mountaineers needed every iota of their talent and waning energy but found the fortitude to outlast the Longhorns 74-72 on Saturday afternoon in a Big 12 game at the Frank Erwin Center.
The Mountaineers' Jevon Carter scored nine of his 15 points in the final four minutes and Teyvon Myers added 16 points, but the game came down, as it always seems to do for West Virginia against Texas, to the final minutes.
Two free throws by Carter with 3:52 to play allowed West Virginia a 65-60 lead. A 3-pointer by Texas' Jacob Young and a layup by Jarrett Allen got the Longhorns within 66-65.
A jumper by the Mountaineers' Tarik Phillip was answered by two free throws from Texas' Kerwin Roach II before Carter hit a jumper to put West Virginia back up by three at 70-67.
After Allen made one of two free throws, the Mountaineers' Nathan Adrian sank two from the charity stripe when he was fouled on an offensive rebound, giving West Virginia a 72-68 advantage.
Texas' Shaquille Cleare responded with a layup to cut into the lead with 26.5 seconds to play.
Carter then added two more free throws and, after a Roach miss, Phillips made one of two to finish off the Longhorns.
West Virginia (15-2, 4-1 Big 12) also got 14 points from Phillip as 10 of the 11 players who took the floor for the Mountaineers scored.
"We just didn't have any energy," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. "Nobody travels (in the Big 12) the way we travel, and our sleep patterns are always off.
"Texas is talented, and this league is just brutal. Everywhere we go play they have good players, and the coaching we see game in and game out is second to none."
Texas (7-10, 1-4 Big 12) was led by Allen's career-high 19 points and Andrew Jones tied a career high with 17 before fouling out with 3:23 left. Cleare scored 12 points and Roach had 11 for the Longhorns.
The Longhorns were playing their first game since the first week of the season without leading scorer Tevin Mack, who was indefinitely suspended on Thursday for the second time this year for an unspecified violation of team rules.
Texas has lost five of its past six outings, with five of its past six losses by five points or less.
"One less turnover, or one more stop, makes a difference in winning or losing some of these close games," Allen said. "We think we are close to getting over that hump. I know we are working hard and we won't stop doing so."
Jones' 3-pointer on the break with 7:50 left in the first half gave Texas a 21-14 lead, its largest of the first half.
Texas led through the rest of the half until a Brandon Watkins putback layup with 2:11 left in the half tied the score at 31.
That started a 12-0 West Virginia run as once back to even the Mountaineers woke up from their first-half funk. They jumped in front on back-to-back baskets by Carter and Miles that handed them a 35-31 lead with 1:24 left and went to intermission with a 39-34 advantage.
Texas' 10 turnovers at halftime were more than it had in either game, both wins, against West Virginia last season.
"For the majority of the game, we kept our poise, but there were a couple of key stretches where we didn't -- like at the end of the first half," Texas coach Shaka Smart said. "It was interesting to see how our guys responded to our last game and how things are going with this team, and putting the result aside I think we did a lot of things really well."
Texas opened the second half with a 12-2 run in the first five minutes, using four points from Roach, three free throws by Jones, a dunk by Allen and a ringing deep-corner 3-pointer from Young to assume a 46-41 lead.
West Virginia surged back in front with 9:33 left as Phillip scored five straight points while going hard to the basket, with the second layup a pretty crossover, change-of-pace left-hander that granted the Mountaineers a 54-53 lead.
That set the table for a back-and-forth finish, with West Virginia's experience and depth proving the difference in the endgame.
"It's hard to scheme to stop a certain guy for us because we have players across the board who can score and lead us," Huggins explained. "Texas played really well, they were hard for us to press. They have great ball-handlers, and that helps."
-- Despite the loss, Texas still owns an 8-5 lead in the all-time series, which dates to an 80-79 win by the Mountaineers in Portland, Ore. (Far West Classic) on Dec. 28, 1973.
-- West Virginia coach Bob Huggins is the third-winningest active Division I coach behind Mike Krzyzewski (Duke) and Jim Boeheim (Syracuse).
-- The Mountaineers' 21-point win over No. 1 Baylor on Tuesday was the eighth-largest margin victory ever against a No. 1-ranked AP team.
-- Baylor's 29 turnovers were the most forced by West Virginia in a conference game in 24 years (30 vs. St. Bonaventure in 1999).
-- Texas registered a two-game sweep of West Virginia last year, winning 56-49 in Morgantown and 85-78 in Austin.
-- The Longhorns committed just eight turnovers during the victory in Morgantown and seven during the win last year in Austin.
Jevon Carter's late surge lift No. 10 West Virginia past Texas Reviewed by Chidinma C Amadi on 7:28 PM Rating: 5

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