MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia's Pat Suemnick was a ball of nerves in his first career start earlier in the week. In his second start, he took an assistant coach's advice: Go have fun.
Suemnick set career highs of 16 points and six rebounds, West Virginia built a double-digit lead and held on for a 76-73 win over No. 25 Texas on Saturday night.
Kerr Kriisa and RaeQuan Battle added 14 points apiece and Quinn Slazinski had 13 points for West Virginia (6-10, 1-2 Big 12), which broke a three-game losing streak.
“This should be the expectation of West Virginia basketball,” Kriisa said.
Suemnick said assistant coach Alex Ruoff told him before the game to soak in the atmosphere of a boisterous home crowd waving gold-colored towels.
“He was like, 'Enjoy this. Look around. We're playing Texas, a ranked team, at home,'" Suemnick said. "I tried to come with that mentality.”
Texas (12-4, 1-2) couldn’t overcome another late deficit after beating Cincinnati in the final seconds on Tuesday.
“I'd like to give West Virginia a lot of credit for tonight. They really came out and set the tone early with physical play,” Texas coach Rodney Terry said. “They competed at a very high level.”
West Virginia has rotated players looking for any type of inside presence while center Jesse Edwards recuperates from a broken wrist. Suemnick has started the past two games. His previous career high for scoring was 12 points of the bench in a loss at Houston on Jan. 6.
“He's had a couple of good games in a row and we keep building on that," said West Virginia interim coach Josh Eilert. "He's carrying himself differently. You can see the confidence in his eyes.”
Suemnick dunked off a rebound and Kriisa hit a 3-pointer to put West Virginia ahead to stay, 40-38, with 15:28 remaining.
Texas went three minutes between field goals and Slazinski sank two free throws to cap a 7-0 run for West Virginia’s largest lead, 59-48, with 5:45 remaining.
Max Abmas scored 19 of his season-high 32 points in the final five minutes, including two free throws with 1:08 left to cut the Texas deficit to 68-65. But the Longhorns got no closer.
Dylan Disu, who had scored a career-high 33 points against Cincinnati, fouled out with 2:16 remaining and finished with 18 points.
The Longhorns could fall out of the AP Top 25 poll for the first time since midway through the 2021-22 season. That won’t get the most notice, though, because No. 23 Gonzaga’s poll streak of a whopping 143 consecutive weeks also may be over after the Bulldogs lost to Santa Clara on Thursday.
Texas: The Longhorns committed 22 turnovers, were outrebounded 32-31 and have lost two of three.
West Virginia: After giving up 44 points in the paint in a blowout loss to Kansas State on Tuesday, the Mountaineers looked physical, more aggressive on defense and made smarter decisions Saturday. They outscored Texas 27-16 at the free-throw line.
Texas hosts UCF on Wednesday.
West Virginia plays at No. 9 Oklahoma on Wednesday, the second of three straight ranked opponents.
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