KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Jonathan Holmes, Javan Felix and the rest of the guys from Texas saw how well West Virginia played in a high-scoring upset of No. 10 Kansas to finish off the regular season.
"We didn't want to let it happen to us," Felix said.
So behind one of their finest defensive performances of the year, not to mention 20 points from Holmes and 16 from Felix, the third-seeded Longhorns shut down the cold-shooting Mountaineers in a 66-49 victory Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament.
"You go into every game expecting it to be really close. You always do, even when you have a lead," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "Defensively we were good. Transition defense was good, and I thought we did a pretty good job for the most part."
The outcome was never in doubt after the game was a few minutes old. Texas raced to a 21-4 lead, built a 20-point cushion late in the first half, and even pressed its advantage past 30 by midway through the second half before coasting the final few minutes.
The Longhorns (23-9) will play seventh-seeded Baylor on Friday night. The Bears held on after blowing most of a 21-point lead to beat No. 2 seed Oklahoma 78-73 earlier in the night.
The sixth-seeded Mountaineers (17-15) may have had their faint NCAA tournament hopes dashed by the miserable night on offense. They shot just 30 percent from the field.
"We were sixth in the best league in the country," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. "I don't know. I don't know what everybody looks at and what's really important."
Brandon Watkins led the way with 10 points for West Virginia, but Juwan Staten — the Big 12's top scorer — was held to four points on 1-for-11 shooting, and Eron Harris — the league's third-leading scorer — had three points on 1-for-5 shooting.
Both players spent most of the second half on the bench, Staten after twisting his right ankle and Harris after picking up his fourth foul. He eventually picked up No. 5, too.
"They're a long team, they have a long back line, and with their zone, they deflected a lot of passes," the Mountaineers' Terry Henderson said. "We did a poor job of scoring."
Given the way the Mountaineers finished the regular season, with that 92-86 victory over the Jayhawks — a game in which everything they threw to toward the rim seemed to hit nothing but nylon — the way they performed Thursday night left just about everyone perplexed.
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