Longhorn Men's Basketball

No Bamba, No Problem!

No Bamba, No Problem!

Texas (18-13, 8-10 Big 12) entered Saturday listed on ESPN’S last four in for the 2018 NCAA Tournament. With only the Big 12 championship left on the schedule, Saturday’s game against 20th ranked West Virginia was considered a must win for the Longhorns. It wasn’t easy as Texas outlasted West Virginia (22-9, 11-7 Big 12) 87-79 to earn an overtime win over the Mountaineers.

Playing West Virginia, who previously defeated Texas 86-51 in Texas’s largest loss of the season, Texas was without Mohamed Bamba, who was out with a sprained left toe for the second consecutive game. Filling the void down low was Jericho Sims, who had 17 points and 8 rebounds.

A game that featured 13 ties and 13 lead changes saw Texas struggle to keep control of the ball against West Virginia’s constant press defense early, as the Longhorns had 10 turnovers in the first half alone. To make up those turnovers, Texas shot lights out from beyond the arc going 57.9 from three, much better than their Big 12 worst 30.9 percent for the year from three. The 57.9 percent was the highest in Shaka Smart’s three seasons at Texas.Texas appeared to have a chance to ice the game at the end of the 2nd half up 72-70 with 6.5 seconds left but a Sims missed free throw and a coast to coast drive by Jevon Carter sent the game to overtime. Texas outscored West Virginia in overtime 15-7 with a Jacob Young three to go up 7 and set Texas up for the win.
Sagaba Konate led West Virginia with 14 points and 8 rebounds.

Three Takeaways
1. Texas improves to 3-4 on the year in overtime games and finishes 12-4 at the Frank Erwin Center this season.

2. According to ESPN’S BPI Texas has a 98 percent chance to make the tournament after beating West Virginia today. For a team who was without Andrew Jones, their best offensive player, most of the year and Mohammad Bamba today, Shaka Smart did a decent coaching job to get this team in a position to make the tournament.

3. This might’ve been one of Texas’ best overall team efforts this year with all 7 guys contributing to the win.

Up Next: Texas heads to Kansas City for the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament. The tournament runs Wednesday March 7th through Saturday March 10th with the championship Saturday night at 5 pm CT. Texas currently sits at 7th place in the conference tied with Oklahoma and should play Wednesday night in the first round of the Tournament.

Written By: Joshua Conrad

adam wagner

March 3rd, 2018

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