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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, February 4, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: WVU Coliseum (14,000) -- Morgantown, West Virginia. Television: ESPN. Home Record: Texas 9-2, WVU 6-3. Away Record: Texas 0-5, WVU 2-5. Neutral Record: Texas 1-4, WVU 2-3. Conference Record: Texas 2-6, WVU 3-5. Series Record: Series is tied, 2-2.
GAME NOTES: A pair of Big 12 Conference teams hoping to even out their overall records meet on Monday night, as the West Virginia Mountaineers entertain the Texas Longhorns at WVU Coliseum.
Texas got off to a dreadful start in Big 12 play, losing each of its first five conference clashes, but it has started to turn things around of late with wins in two of its last three. The Longhorns dismissed TCU at home on Saturday, 60-43, but they have yet to win a true road game in five tries this season.
West Virginia is also fresh off a Saturday afternoon win, claiming a quality road victory over Texas Tech, 77-61. On the season however, it is only a game up on Texas in the Big 12 standings at 3-5.
Each team has won two games in the all-time series, with WVU winning in overtime on Jan. 9, 57-53, in their first game as Big 12 foes. Each matchup has been decided by four point or less.
Texas put forth an impressive offensive performance on Saturday, making better than 52.3 percent of its total shots, but the biggest reason for its 17-point win was a stifling defensive effort that held TCU to just 32.7 percent accuracy from the field while yielding less than 50 points for the second time this season. Defense has been UT's strength this season, as it limits foes to just 62 ppg, and its field goal percentage defense (.358) is one of the best in the nation. Sheldon McClellan paced the Longhorns in their recent triumph by netting 15 points, Ioannis Papapetrou added 13 points and nine rebounds, and Connor Lammert was an asset off the bench with 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting. McClellan is the team's top scorer at 14.8 ppg, and his stellar free-throw percentage (.798) outshines his lackluster effort from the field overall (.379). Julien Lewis chips in 11.5 ppg, while Javan Felix (8.0 ppg) dishes out 5.6 apg and comes up with 1.3 spg. Jonathan Holmes grabs a team- high 7.1 rpg for Texas, which averages a modest 63.9 ppg.
West Virginia had one of its best shooting performances of the year in the 16- point win over Texas Tech, as it shot 56.5 percent from the field, including 10-of-18 from 3-point range. Pacing four players in double figures was freshman Eron Harris, who netted 18 points, and while he is averaging just 8.0 ppg for the season, that number has inflated to 13.8 in the last six contests. Aaric Murray scored 12 points off the bench, while Gary Browne and Juwan Staten each poured in 11 points against the Red Raiders. Despite getting outshot from the field this season, .401 to .438, the Mountaineers still score more points (67.1 ppg) than their opponents (66.1 ppg) by sporting positive rebounding (+2.2) and turnover (+2.2) margins. Murray (10.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.7 bpg) is the only player to tally double figures on a nightly basis, but Staten comes awfully close with 9.9 ppg while also accumulating team-highs is assists (58) and steals (25).
Neither team has established itself as a true contender in the Big 12 this season. WVU has been strong at home and should be able to hold off a Texas squad that has had very little luck outside of Austin.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: West Virginia 66, Texas 62
02/04 10:32:18 ET
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