AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Cam Ridley scored 19 points and set the tone with a thunderous early dunk as No. 20 Texas snapped a two-game skid with a bruising 77-50 win over No. 16 West Virginia on Saturday night.
Jonathan Holmes added 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Longhorns, who routinely peppered the Mountaineers with dunks, blocks and ripped down rebounds at will. Myles Turner added 16 points for the Longhorns (13-4, 2-2 Big 12) in a game dominated by the muscular Texas frontcourt.
Texas also weathered the Mountaineers’ withering pressure defense. Texas gave up 19 turnovers but never let West Virginia set the tone with fast-break baskets beyond the opening 30 seconds.
Gary Browne scored 14 points for West Virginia (15-3, 3-2), which got into foul trouble early and shot just 25 percent in dropping its first loss away from home this season.
Texas was expected to be one of the most physical teams in the Big 12 this season but that seemed to disappear in losses against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. After a 21-point home loss to Oklahoma, Texas coach Rick Barnes openly questioned whether his team was full of “phony tough guys.”
The Longhorns put the first half against West Virginia on Ridley’s big shoulders and he carried them through a dominant first 10 minutes with 12 points, including a pair of rim-rattling dunks and a block that brought the home crowd to its feet.
Holmes, who scored just four points in the two losses, had eight points and five rebounds as the Longhorns built a 37-23 lead by halftime. Holmes’ early tussle with West Virginia’s Jonathan Holton resulted in technical fouls against both and set the physical tone for the rest of the game.
West Virginia seemed rattled by an early rash of fouls — 10 in the first 10 minutes — and struggled to penetrate Texas’ zone defense.
Texas maintained its double-digit lead through the first 10 minutes of the second half with Turner picking up the physical play inside. West Virginia’s Jevon Carter made three consecutive 3-pointers to keep Texas from pulling away but he couldn’t pull the Mountaineers closer.
The frustration kept mounting for West Virginia. At one point, Devin Williams was whistled for an offensive foul, then grabbed the ball and dunked it anyway, drawing a technical. The two free throws gave Texas a 15-point lead with just over nine minutes to play.
West Virginia: Coach Bob Huggins is stuck on career victory No. 755 and tied with Henry Iba for 13th place among major college coaches. West Virginia leads the nation in steals per game at 13 and forced 19 Texas turnovers.
Texas: The Longhorns rank second nationally in blocks and had seven against the Mountaineers … Texas outrebounded West Virginia 44-32.
West Virginia: hosts TCU on Jan. 24
Texas: visits TCU on Monday.
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