By Cam Huffman
West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins has been talking for weeks about his team finding a way to make a run.
A solid 77-61 win on the road at Texas Tech Saturday was a great start, but if the Mountaineers (10-11, 3-5 Big 12) have any prayer of entertaining their coach’s big talk of getting back into the NCAA Tournament picture, they can’t afford another slip — especially against one of the league’s bottom teams.
That’s the situation WVU will face tonight when it takes on Texas (10-11, 2-6 Big 12) in a Big Monday clash at 9 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum. The game will be televised by ESPN.
“It’s not over yet,” said Huggins after Saturday’s victory. “They tell you to play a schedule, and we played a schedule. Obviously, we’re a long way away right now. But if we can get on a run, I think we have a chance.”
The first meeting between the Mountaineers and Longhorns this season was an instant classic.
Down 10 points with 3:35 to play, WVU rallied to force an overtime and then pulled off a 57-53 victory for their first-ever Big 12 win on the road in Austin, Texas.
The Mountaineers, though, lost four of their next five to put themselves in a huge hole and turn the talk from NCAA to NIT.
Texas hasn’t been much better. The WVU loss was the second in a string of five straight losses. The Longhorns’ only Big 12 wins came against Texas Tech and TCU.
Texas is led by sophomore guard Sheldon McClellan, who averages 14.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. He had nine points against the Mountaineers last time the teams played.
Aaric Murray scored 12 points for the Mountaineers in that first meeting, and the 6-foot-10 center has finally been living up to his potential, scoring 40 points and bringing down 20 rebounds in the last three games.