AUSTIN, Texas — West Virginia's frenetic, high-pressure style of play can rarely be called a basketball ballet, even when the Mountaineers are winning.
Attach it to a 27-point loss and it got downright ugly.
Cam Ridley scored 19 points, setting the tone with a thunderous early dunk, as No. 20 Texas controlled the No. 16 Mountaineers nearly from the start Saturday night in a bruising 77-50 win. The Longhorns snapped a two-game losing skid.
Jonathan Holmes added 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Longhorns, who routinely peppered the Mountaineers with dunks, blocks and ripped down rebounds at will. Myles Turner added 16 points for the Longhorns (13-4, 2-2 Big 12) in a game dominated by Texas' muscular Texas frontcourt.
"They played the game the way they wanted to play it. They imposed their will on us and we didn't respond to it very well," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said.
Texas also weathered the Mountaineers' withering pressure defense. Texas gave up 19 turnovers but never let West Virginia steal points with fast-break baskets beyond the opening 30 seconds.
Gary Browne scored 14 points for West Virginia (15-3, 3-2), which got into foul trouble early and shot just 25 percent in dropping its first loss away from home this season.
"Looked to me like we had guys open. We just didn't deliver the ball," Huggins said.
Texas was expected to be one of the most physical teams in the Big 12 this season but that seemed to disappear in losses against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. After a 21-point home loss to Oklahoma, Texas coach Rick Barnes openly questioned whether his team was full of "phony tough guys."
The Longhorns put the first half against West Virginia on Ridley's big shoulders and he carried them through a dominant first 10 minutes with 12 points, including a pair of rim-rattling dunks and a block that brought the home crowd to its feet.
"We're going to compete," Barnes said. "(But) we hadn't. I'm sure they got sick of me grinding on them. I thought we played with some pop."
Holmes, who scored just four points in the two losses, had eight points and five rebounds as the Longhorns built a 37-23 lead by halftime. Holmes' early tussle with West Virginia's Jonathan Holton resulted in technical fouls against both and sent the message to expect a physical night.
"They tried to come in here and punk us and we didn't let that happen," Holmes said.
West Virginia seemed rattled by an early rash of fouls — 10 in the first 10 minutes — and struggled to penetrate Texas' zone defense.
Texas maintained its double-digit lead through the first 10 minutes of the second half with Turner picking up the physical play inside. West Virginia's Jevon Carter made three consecutive 3-pointers to keep Texas from pulling away but he couldn't pull the Mountaineers closer.
The frustration kept mounting for West Virginia. At one point, Devin Williams was whistled for an offensive foul, then grabbed the ball and dunked it anyway, drawing a technical. The two free throws gave Texas a 15-point lead with just over nine minutes to play.
West Virginia: Huggins is stuck on career victory No. 755 and tied with Henry Iba for 13th place among major college coaches. West Virginia leads the nation in steals per game at 13 and forced 19 Texas turnovers.
Texas: The Longhorns rank second nationally in blocks and had seven against the Mountaineers, four by Ridley ... Texas outrebounded West Virginia 44-32.
Ridley's one-handed alley-oop in the third minute lit the spark for a dormant Texas offense. It came off an in-bounds pass from Isaiah Taylor when Ridley extended his 6-foot-9, 285-pound frame to grab the pass with his right hand and slam it down.
"(This game) got everybody knowing how we have to play to win," Ridley said.
West Virginia had been so good away from home until their trip to Austin. The Mountaineers are now 9-1 outside of Morgantown. Of the 50 fouls called in the game, 30 went against the Mountaineers and Texas shot 31 of 37 on free throws.
"We weren't flat," Huggins said. "You could argue we weren't very smart. We just did dumb things. Jon Holton can't play 8 minutes and we beat Texas. Can't do it. We need him on the floor."
West Virginia: hosts TCU on Jan. 24
Texas: visits TCU on Monday.
All content copyright ©2015 Daily Journal, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.