Texas had won two of its last three, but like West Virginia they were against league doormats TCU and Texas Tech. The Longhorns (10-12, 2-7) have yet to win a road game this season and lost to the Mountaineers for the second time this season. WVU wiped out a 12-point deficit to win in overtime in Austin on. Jan. 9.
Kilicli and Hinds led West Virginia with 14 points each, while Harris had 13.
Leading by seven at halftime, West Virginia was shooting the lights out, at one point hitting 12 of 16 shots after a slow start. That gave the Mountaineers leads of as many as 11 points, the last one 44-33 at the 14-minute mark.
Texas got WVU out of its offense with halfcourt pressure, though, and went on a 16-3 run to take the lead. But the Longhorns could never get ahead by more than a basket and West Virginia finally surged ahead late.
For at the least the first 10 to 12 minutes of the game, the teams played precisely the type of game one might expect from groups with identical 10-11 records -- sloppy and inefficient. Fortunately for the Mountaineers, they revived themselves in time to make that late run and grab the lead at halftime, 32-25.
West Virginia began the game ice cold, missing 10 of 11 shots at one point and fell behind by as many as seven points, 15-8. At one point the Mountaineers went 7:45 without a field goal.
It was still a 20-15 Texas lead after WVU snapped that long scoring drought and that's when the Mountaineers went to work. Over a 51/2-minute stretch West Virginia outscored Texas 12-0, getting four points each from Terry Henderson and Hinds.
That made it 27-20 and the Mountaineers extended the lead to nine points, 32-23, before Texas got two free throws just before the halftime buzzer.
Kilicli led West Virginia with eight points in the first half. After starting the game 2-for-12 from the field, WVU made eight of its final 10 shots before the break. Texas was shooting 31 percent.
The crowd of 4,966 was the smallest of the season, just a handful less than the 4,982 who saw the Mountaineers beat Radford just before Christmas. It was the smallest crowd for a conference game since the end of Gale Catlett's final season in 2002. That year, 4,279 showed up for the final home game against Georgetown, two weeks after just 3,942 saw a game here against Virginia Tech. In fact, four of the final six home crowds that season were smaller than Monday's.
Still, Huggins was actually pleased that there were that many in the stands.
"I thought getting [almost 5,000] people here tonight with the conditions that we had was really good,'' said Huggins. "Probably most of them were from Suncrest.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.