No. 4 Texas 72, No. 14 West Virginia 70: Andrew Jones' big day ends with a big shot
During a trip to West Virginia on Saturday, Texas guard Andrew Jones knocked down four 3-pointers.
That sentence in itself is not news. After all, Jones had sank 15 3-pointers over UT's first 10 games. That was the third-best total among the Longhorns.
However, two of the 3-pointers that Jones hit in Morgantown were anything but ordinary. One of those shots — made with 1:17 left in the first half — secured Jones' entry into the 1,000-point club at Texas. Jones then nailed the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds remaining in a 72-70 win.
Jones' 3-pointers lifted the No. 4 team in the Associated Press' poll to a key win over the 14th-ranked Mountaineers. Those baskets were also made on the three-year anniversary of the day that UT coach Shaka Smart shared Jones' leukemia diagnosis with his teammates.
"Personally, it just feels great just to be out here doing things that I love every day, being able to play basketball with my friends and my teammates," Jones said. "I just put all the glory to God for allowing me to be in a position to be healthy, alive and being able to play a high-level brand of basketball."
On Saturday, Texas (10-1, 4-0 Big 12) found itself facing its third halftime deficit of the season. West Virginia (9-4, 2-3) then extended its lead to as many as nine points in the second half as Texas forced only one tie.
In the game's final minute, West Virginia grabbed two offensive rebounds while nursing a 70-69 lead. On the second second chance, Emmitt Matthews, Jr. was fouled by Texas. To that point, Matthews was shooting 89.7% from the free throw line this season. He missed both attempts.
Following those misses, UT guard Courtney Ramey pushed the basketball up the court. Ramey had scored a game-high 19 points, so he was a clear scoring threat as he drove to the hoop. Ramey became a magnet for all five defenders and that left Jones open in the corner. After receiving Ramey's pass, Jones smoothly gave Texas its only lead of the second half.
"Courtney drew defensive help and then he found me on the backside and I was ready to shoot," said Jones, who finished with 16 points. "It felt good right when I caught it. I had a lot of space and daylight, so I stepped in and knocked it down."
After Matthews missed, there were just under 11 seconds left on the clock. Smart chose to not use his final timeout since "I think anytime in that situation where you have enough time to go make a good play, you want to let your players go do that without the defense necessarily being set or having the advantage of determining exactly where they want to go in a timeout."
For Texas, that good play involved its first 3-pointer of the second half. For the game, the Longhorns were 4-for-19 from deep. Despite those numbers, Ramey said he didn't hesitate to give up the basketball to Jones.
"We practice that in practice and we just believe in each other," Ramey said. "He just made a big-time shot. You've got to look at the results."
Texas was blown out during last January's visit to Morgantown. Earlier this month, Jones was asked if the Longhorns owed the Mountaineers some revenge after that 97-59 blowout.
Jones stated that Texas owed something to everyone in the Big 12, not just West Virginia. In victory, he repeated that line.
"We owe everybody in the entire league," Jones said. "Whoever's next on the schedule is who we're going to have to show that we're good and can play against."
Tip-ins: Texas has now won six straight games. The Longhorns will host Texas Tech on Wednesday. ... In addition to Ramey and Jones, Texas got 13 points from Matt Coleman III and 10 points from Kai Jones. Freshman Greg Brown recorded a double-double (12 points, 14 rebounds). ... Led by Taz Sherman's 17 points, West Virginia had four players contribute double-digit scoring efforts.