Texas-West Virginia Preview

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Elijah Macon acknowledged his 17 points and 12 rebounds against Texas Tech seemingly "came out of nowhere." No. 12 West Virginia hopes those types of performances become more common, especially with Monday's matchup looming against Texas freshman phenom Jarrett Allen.

Macon's 7-of-8 shooting while playing a career-high 33 minutes boosted the Mountaineers to an 83-74 double-overtime win Saturday. During his 93-game college career, the junior forward had averaged 4.9 points and 2.9 rebounds, landing short of expectations he carried as a top-60 Rivals recruit.

"Finally -- that's what he's capable of doing," said teammate Nathan Adrian, who arrived alongside Macon in West Virginia's 2013 recruiting class. "He wanted to get out there and play hard, and he did, so good things come from that."

Macon made all five shots and grabbed 10 rebounds after halftime against Texas Tech, big production that West Virginia sorely needed in a tight game. His only previous double-double was far less memorable, coming amid a 53-point victory over Bethune Cookman in November 2015.

"I haven't felt this good since AAU," said Macon, whose mother died from cancer during his freshman season. "This was definitely one of my best games. I pray to my mom everyday, like 'Let's go out and have a breakout game,' because I know what I can do."

West Virginia (21-6, 9-5 Big 12) has shown what it can do against some of the nation's top programs, while also suffering three losses against teams in the bottom half of the conference. On Jan. 14 at Texas, the Mountaineers led for less than 16 minutes of a 74-72 victory.

That was just one more sad chapter in a disastrous season for the Longhorns (10-17, 4-10), who come to Morgantown on a three-game skid after falling Saturday to Kansas State 64-61.

"It's really hard, especially for the seniors," said Texas guard Kendall Yancy. "We have to be able to respond after losses and be able to win the next game because there's still hope. Any hope we can find we'll take it and run with it."

Hope is dissipating for a Texas team that's 0-12 away from Austin, not at all what fans envisioned for $3 million-a-year coach Shaka Smart. After making five straight NCAA tournament appearances at Virginia Commonwealth, he owns a 30-30 record in his second season with the Longhorns.

"I'm certainly disappointed our record is what it is," Smart said. "You question what do you do, as a coach. You have to look really close at what you need to do differently. Obviously, we've got to get better."

Smart has a big-time freshman in Allen (13.2 point, 8.4 rebounds), though the 6-foot-11 center could be a one-and-done candidate for the NBA draft. During the first matchup against West Virginia, Allen produced 19 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.

Fellow freshman Andrew Jones (11.3 points, 3.4 assists) has picked up his play in the absence of sophomore guard Tevin Mack, a 14-points-per-game scorer suspended since mid-January.

Texas ranks 330th nationally in 3-point accuracy (30.3 percent), 311th at the foul line (64.9 percent) at 281st in scoring (68.6), relying on defense to keep games competitive.

Press Virginia still leads the nation by forcing 21.8 turnovers per game, though it has backed off at times to avoid foul trouble. During an effective second-half stretch against Texas Tech, the Mountaineers took 6-9 Nathan Adrian off the inbounder to put another defender in the passing lanes.

"You've got to have some wrinkles to throw them of guard a little bit," Adrian said.