KANSAS CITY, Mo. — West Virginia coach Bob Huggins spent the entire second half Thursday night slumped on his courtside stool as Texas ran up, down and all over his Mountaineers at the Big 12 tournament.
“Well, I certainly didn’t see it coming,” Huggins said after the Longhorns recorded a 66-49 win.
Even his Texas counterpart seemed a little stunned it was that easy.
“You don’t ever expect it to be easy,” Texas’ Rick Barnes said. “You never expect that.”
Texas notched its biggest win at this event since running roughshod over Oklahoma for a 28-point blowout in 2008. It was just the type of win these Longhorns needed having lost five straight road games.
No. 3 seed Texas (23-9) moved on to face No. 7 seed Baylor in Friday’s semifinals. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. at Sprint Center.
The sizzling Bears have won nine of their last 10 games, including an impressive win over No. 2 seed Oklahoma in the Big 12 quarterfinals.
“I think a win like this can definitely carry over into some good momentum heading into (Friday) night and the rest of this week, and the NCAA tournament next week,” said Texas forward Jonathan Holmes, who had 20 points.
The Longhorns have never lacked confidence, at least publicly. So it was surprising that guard Javan Felix said the team had been “second-guessing ourselves” and not coming out as aggressive as they needed to lately.
“We just wanted to get back to being aggressive and attacking from the very beginning,” Felix said. “And I think we did a good job of that at the start of the game and kind of carried over throughout the game.”
The first half was a dominating tour de force. Texas jumped out to a 12-0 lead, then it mushroomed to 21-8 and eventually 33-10. West Virginia standout Juwan Staten was 1-for-9 from the floor in the first half. As a team the Mountaineers shot 18.2 percent through the first 20 minutes. Game over.
“I’ve never worried about their confidence,” Barnes said. “Maybe I’m not in tune with them as I think I should be or whatever. But they’ve never made me feel like they weren’t confident. And I’ve never really had a problem with that.
“My problem from a coaching standpoint, it’s always about execution, the details,” he added. “That’s what it’s always been about. And tonight we were good with the details tonight.”