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Myers and No. 10 West Virginia earn 74-72 win at Texas

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AUSTIN, Texas — The euphoria of blowing out a top-ranked team followed by a long trip west created one serious hangover for West Virginia.

The No. 10 Mountaineers shook it off just in time to avoid one of the bigger upsets of the Big 12 season so far.

Teyvon Myers scored 16 points and Jevon Carter scored 15 as West Virginia rallied to beat short-handed Texas 74-72 on Saturday.

“We gave them a day off after the Baylor game , I tried to talk to them right after the game to make sure we got ready,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. “We didn’t have any energy (against Texas). Nobody travels the way we travel. Your sleep patterns are all different.”

As the only Big 12 team in the Eastern time zone, the Mountaineers log more miles and hours on the road than anyone else in the league. Still, after a court-storming win against Baylor, few expected the Mountaineers to be in such a fight with a Texas team that has struggled all season.

Texas played without leading scorer Tevin Mack, who was suspended indefinitely this week for an unspecified violation of team rules. It was his second suspension of the season for the sophomore, who missed the first game for a rules violation during the offseason.

The Longhorns committed 19 turnovers against the Mountaineers’ “Press Virginia” defense but didn’t give them up in bunches and never allowed any West Virginia lead grow larger than eight points. Texas led 53-47 with 10 minutes left.

“Our guys showed a great deal of fight,” Texas coach Shaka Smart said. “The way our guys played for each other, played for Texas, is more closely what we want to be,” Smart said.

Carter’s two free throws with 21 seconds left gave West Virginia (15-2, 4-1) a four-point lead. Jarrett Allen scored 19 points for the Longhorns (7-10, 1-4) and his put-back basket with 1.1 seconds left gave Texas a final desperate chance. But after Myers missed two free throws, Allen’s final cross-court short never made it to the basket.

Andrew Jones scored 17 for Texas, but fouled with more than three minutes to play.


West Virginia: The win keeps the Mountaineers on pace near the top of the Big 12 behind league leader Kansas but the defense that has smothered opponents struggled to bottle up the Longhorns, who shot 50 percent in the second half. The Mountaineers particularly struggled to contain Texas’ frontcourt of Allen and Shaq Cleare, who combined to shoot 12 of 16 from the field.

Texas: The Longhorns proved they have some mettle even without Mack’s scoring, and his absence may have forced on-the-court cohesion that has rarely been on display this season. But the road only gets tougher from here. Texas has road games at Baylor and Kansas in the coming week and face the prospect of a long stay near the bottom of the Big 12.


Huggins earned career victory No. 806, tying him for ninth place in major college history with Eddie Sutton. He ranks third among active coaches behind Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim

“I had the good fortune of being able to coach against Eddie,” Huggins said. “If I sat and thought about it, which I don’t, it’s an honor to be mentioned in the same breath as those guys.”


Five of Texas’ losses have been by three points or less, frustrating trend for a team that started the season ranked in the Top 25 with an entirely new starting lineup.

“Coach said in the locker room, `If we could do one less turnover or get one more stop, that would help a lot.’ We can feel each other pulling closer together more as a team,” Allen said.


West Virginia: Host Oklahoma on Wednesday. The Mountaineers are undefeated at home this season.

Texas: Travel to No. 1 Baylor on Tuesday. The Longhorns are winless on the road.

Bluiett back to Xavier for senior season

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Xavier lost one significant piece to the professional ranks this spring, but will return another.

Trevon Bluiett, the team’s leading scorer last year, announced via social media that he will be back to play his senior season with the Musketeers.

Chris Mack will return the bulk of a roster that struggled February only to make a run to the Elite Eight, but getting Bluiett for a final season makes the Musketeers especially dangerous. The 6-foot-6 Bluiett scored a team-high 18.5 points per game last year while also putting up 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists per night. He shot 37.1 percent from 3-point range, the second-best mark on the team. His return, even with point guard Edmond Sumner going pro amid his ACL tear recovery, makes Xavier one of the top teams in the Big East heading into the 2017-18 season.

Bluiett himself is enough to keep Xavier relevant in the league, but when he’s coupled with the likes of returners JP Macura, Sean O’Mara and Quentin Goodwin, plus a recruiting class featuring two four-star prospects, it’s not difficult to see a path for Mack’s group to a place where they can compete with the likes of Villanova and Seton Hall atop the league.

Welsh and Holiday returning to UCLA

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UCLA sustained some major, though expected, attrition from its roster this spring. On Tuesday, the Bruins announced a pair of significant contributors that will be back.

Thomas Welsh and Aaron Holiday will both return next season to the UCLA program, according to the school.

Welsh, a 7-foot center, averaged 10.8 points and 8.7 rebounds as a senior last year for the Bruins. He shot 58.5 percent from the floor and blocked 1.2 shots per game, and decided to declare for the NBA Draft without an agent before ultimately deciding to return to Westwood.

“Thomas has worked hard all spring,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said in a statement. “We supported him testing the NBA waters and are excited to have him returning for his senior year. He simply continues to develop each and every season.

“Thomas will be one of the top centers in college basketball next year and, undoubtedly, has a great chance to be a first-round pick in next season’s draft.”

The 6-foot-1 Holiday averaged 12.3 points and 4.4 assists last season while sharing a backcourt with Lonzo Ball, whose departure, along with those of TJ Leaf, Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton will leave UCLA with a very different look next season. The positive results, however, may not fluctuate too significantly with Welsh and Holiday coming back to play alongside two five-star recruits, Kris Wilkes and Jaylen Hands, as well as Lonzo’s younger brother LiAngelo.

West Virginia’s Macon forgoing final year

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West Virginia’s attempt to dethrone Kansas atop the Big 12 took a bit of a hit Tuesday.

Elijah Macon, a 6-foot-9 forward, announced his decision to forego a fifth year in Morgantown in order to pursue a professional career.

“First things first I would like to say thank you Bob Huggins and Erik Martin for believing in a young 15-year-old boy growing up from the Southside of Columbus, OH losing my mother and still having you guys push me to be the man I have become,” Macon said according to the school. “I can do nothing but thank you for all you and Mountaineer Nation (have) done for me. Unfortunately, I will not be returning for my senior season at WVU and instead sign with a(n) agent and play professional basketball. Thank you guys for all the love and support!”

Macon wasn’t a major contributor for the Mountaineers last season, averaging 6.3 points and 4.2 rebounds in 16 minutes per game, but he was an experienced and tough player who was well-versed in Huggins’ style and demands. Given the pace that the newly-fashioned Press Virginia plays at, depth is also paramount for them as a program.

Macon’s departure, though, may have been expected or at least partly anticipated by West Virginia. The Mountaineers signed five players in its most recent recruiting class, putting them one over their allotment of 13, so something had to give. West VIrginia will stay have interior depth, anchored by junior Esa Ahmad, so the loss of Macon is one they likely can weather, even if it may take some time to acclimate the newcomers.

“Elijah is in the process of completing classes during this summer school period that ends June 2 and will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in August,” Huggins said in a statement released by the school. “I respect his decision to become a professional basketball player and to go make money to support his family. He had a great four years with us, and we wish him nothing but the best.”

Key returning to Alabama for sophomore season

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Alabama’s top scorer is returning to school.

Braxton Key has withdrawn his name from the NBA draft and will be back with the Tide for his sophomore season, the school announced Tuesday.

“I spoke to coach Avery (Johnson) just over a week ago and informed him of my decision to withdraw my name from the NBA Draft and return to the University of Alabama for my sophomore season,” Key said in a statement. “I made that official when I sent my paperwork to the NBA league office Monday morning. I want to express my appreciation to my teammates, Coach Johnson and the entire coaching staff for giving me their full support while I went through this process.

“I am excited for the future of the Alabama basketball program and looking forward to getting to work as we prepare for next season. Roll Tide and Buckle Up!”

The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 12 points and 5.7 rebounds per game while shooting 43.3 percent from the field as a freshman. He gives Alabama four returning starts to pair with one of the country’s highest-regarded recruiting classes, headlined by five-star guard Collin Sexton. The Tide will also have an eligible Daniel Giddens, who previously transferred in from Ohio State.

Key didn’t seem likely to stay in the NBA draft, especially after he wasn’t invited to the combine, but his ultimate decision is a huge one for Avery Johnson as he looks to break through in his third season in Tuscaloosa with his first NCAA tournament appearance. 

Report: Justin Jackson to return to Maryland

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Maryland forward Justin Jackson is expected to return to school for his sophomore season, according to a report from FanRag Sports.

Jackson is an intriguing talent, a 6-foot-7 combo-forward with a 7-foot-3 wingspan that shoots 44 percent from three. But he’s also still developing his offensive game and consistency on the defensive end of the floor, which is why he was projected as a second round pick in this year’s draft.

With Jackson back in the fold, Maryland is a borderline top 25 team. They lost Melo Trimble to the professional ranks, but that’s something that Mark Turgeon has prepared for. With a sophomore class that also includes highly-regarded point guard Anthony Cowan and sharp-shooter Kevin Huerter, the Terps have a promising season ahead of them.