Juwan Staten

Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

Saturday’s matchup between Kansas and Texas in Lawrence could’ve been the deciding game in the Big 12. But after an abysmal 6-8 start in Big 12 play, Texas is no longer in play for the Big 12 title.

Despite Texas’ poor start, ESPN announced its “College GameDay” program will do a one-hour pregame show at Allen Fieldhouse before the afternoon contest.

The "College GameDay" crew will start the day with its morning show at Wichita State before making the trek to Lawrence.

This is the second time this year the "College GameDay" show will broadcast from a Big 12 venue.

 Two Big 12 point guards up for awards

Two Big 12 point guards became finalists for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award on Friday. 

Iowa State sophomore Monté Morris and West Virginia senior Juwan Staten are two of 17 finalists for the award, which is given to the country’s top collegiate point guard.

Morris currently leads the nation with a 4.55 assist-to-turnover ratio, one year after setting an NCAA record with a 4.79 ratio. He also leads the Big 12 with 5.57 assists per game and is averaging 11.4 points per game.

Meanwhile, Staten has proven himself as a scorer with 13.5 points per game and 5.08 assists per game. His biggest moment this season came last week when he scored a last-second layup to lead the Mountaineers to a win over Kansas.

The winner of the Bob Cousy Award will be announced April 10.

 Staten, McKay win weekly conference awards

In addition to being named a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award, Staten also took home the Big 12 Player of the Week award, which the conference announced Monday.

Staten averaged 21 points in the two wins this week for West Virginia — both against ranked opponents. He posted a 51.7 field-goal percentage and made 60 percent of his three-point attempts.

Iowa State  redshirt junior forward Jameel McKay took the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year award after helping the Cyclones win back-to-back conference road games for the first time since 2006. Against Oklahoma State, the junior forward posted 17 points and 14 rebounds. He then followed up with a nine-rebound, three-block performance in the win against the Longhorns on Saturday.

 Iowa State, West Virginia rise in AP Poll

Following big wins on Saturday, both Iowa State and West Virginia made gains in the latest AP rankings released Monday.

West Virginia tied for the most spots gained of any team in the poll, jumping up three positions to take the No. 20 spot after posting wins over Kansas and Oklahoma State. Iowa State moved up two positions to No. 12 after posting two-straight road victories against Oklahoma State and Texas.

Oklahoma State fell out of the rankings after back-to-back losses. Texas, meanwhile, received only one vote in the rankings.

Big 12 Tournament

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff


Felix sets the pace for Texas

It’s simple: when sophomore guard Javan Felix is hot, Texas is as good as any team in the Big 12. Felix had 16 points Wednesday night and was relatively efficient from the field, hitting six of his 12 attempts.

Felix, a Louisiana native, has been streaky throughout the season and had been particularly erratic heading into the conference championships. In the three games since his impressive performance in a win over Baylor last month, Felix had a combined total of just 12 points.

But, marred in a terrible slump, a matchup with the Mountaineers was just what the doctor ordered for Felix. The stout shooting guard was great against West Virginia all season. In Texas’ three games against the Mountaineers this year, Felix averaged 17.3 points per game.

Staten’s stroke struggles

West Virginia’s Juwan Staten, who was the Big 12 leader in scoring heading into the game, was a major disappointment for the Mountaineers on Thursday night. Staten converted just one of his 11 field goal attempts and really struggled to penetrate Texas’ zone defense.

Staten’s lone field goal came on a fast break in the first half. With plenty of time and nobody chasing him down, the junior guard lined up for a dunk but came up short of the rim and was forced to lay it in. He came down holding his lower back and appeared hampered by the injury the rest of the way. Things went from bad to worse when Staten’s night came to an abrupt end midway through the second half as he rolled his ankle on a drive to the basket.

Texas triumphs three times

Texas’ quarterfinal win over the Mountaineers was the team’s third victory against West Virginia this season. The Longhorns beat Bob Huggins’ squad by 11 in Morgantown, W.Va., in January, by 17 in at the Erwin Center in February and were again victorious tonight, winning by 17 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

While Felix was certainly the best individual performer against the Mountaineers this season, it was Texas’ team defense that really stymied West Virginia in all three contests. The Longhorns’ zone often forced Staten and his Mountaineer teammates to settle for contested jumpers late in the shot clock, never giving them a chance to get in rhythm.

Looking forward to Baylor

Just a few minutes before Texas took to the court on Thursday night, Baylor knocked off Oklahoma, meaning the Longhorns will take on the Bears in the semifinals Friday night at 8 P.M.

Baylor’s upset of Oklahoma should give Texas some added confidence heading into its final four matchup. The Longhorns, who were winless in two games against the Sooners this season, beat the Bears handily both times the in-state foes met during the regular season. Texas’ freshman point guard Isaiah Taylor had a coming out party in Waco back in January, leading the Longhorns to a 74-60 road win while Javan Felix went off against the Bears in Austin, as Texas squeaked past Baylor 74-69 at home in late February.

Sophomore guard Javan Felix is defended by Melvin Ejim during Texas' matchup against the Cyclones last month. 

Photo Credit: Sam Ortega | Daily Texan Staff

On Saturday night, the Longhorns found a way to slow down the Big 12’s second leading scorer, Juwan Staten, en route to a victory over West Virginia. Three days later, they’ll have to stop the only man ahead of Staten if they want the same result.

Senior forward Melvin Ejim — who averages a conference-best 18.9 points per game — and his No. 17 Iowa State Cyclones welcome No. 19 Texas to Ames for a top-25 matchup at Hilton Coliseum tonight.

“[Ejim’s] a scary guy,” head coach Rick Barnes said. “He’s put up some unbelievable numbers. He’s been one of those guys that has had an incredible impact on their program.”

Unlike Staten, a true point guard who was defended by Javan Felix and Isaiah Taylor, Ejim plays on the wing and will likely be guarded by Texas’ defensive specialist, Demarcus Holland. Holland’s athleticism and deceptive length should help slow down Ejim, who can score from anywhere on the floor.

Ejim was effective in Iowa State’s 86-76 loss at the Frank Erwin Center last month. The Canadian player had a double-double with 17 points on 8-for-11 shooting and 10 rebounds.

But the Longhorns’ team defense has improved significantly since the last time these two teams met, and, if Texas’ most recent performance is any indication, Ejim could be in for a long night.

“Our defense has been the most improved aspect of our game,” Barnes said. “We’ve stopped fouling as much. We still have some things to work on, but it’s getting better.”

Offensively, the Longhorns will once again rely on their size and strength inside to overwhelm Iowa State’s undersized front court. Junior forward Jonathan Holmes and sophomore center Cameron Ridley combined for 39 points and seven offensive boards in the first meeting. Those two, combined with Holland’s defensive work ethic, have been the key to the Longhorns’ rebounding success.

“The length has a lot to do with [the rebounding],” Barnes said. “You’ve also got two guys — in Jonathan Holmes and Demarcus Holland — who put in tremendous effort. That kind of effort is what gets us the extra possessions that we need.”

Sophomore guard Javan Feliz scored 18 points against West Virginia on Saturday at the Frank Erwin Center. Felix's offensive production fueled Texas' 88-71 victory as the No.19 Longhorns move within one game of Kansas for the Big 12 lead. 

Photo Credit: Shweta Gulati | Daily Texan Staff

A two-handed alley-oop slam from sophomore center Cameron Ridley late in the second half capped off Ridley’s total dominance of West Virginia on Saturday night.

Ridley, who finished the game with 17 points, six rebounds and a game-high three blocks, led Texas to an easy 88–71 victory over the Mountaineers at the Frank Erwin Center.

Whether it was blocking a shot into the third row, bounce passing out of a double team to set up an easy layup or the viciously slamming the ball in, Ridley proved once again that he is a much improved player.

“I enjoy blocking shots and dunking on people,” Ridley said. “Whenever I’m able to do those things, it gets the crowd going and gives us an edge because the adrenaline starts pumping.”

With sophomore guard Demarcus Holland guarding the wing, Texas’ point guard combination of freshman Isaiah Taylor and sophomore Javan Felix embraced the challenge of shutting down West Virginia superstar Juwan Staten. Staten, who averages 18.1 points per game, had just 14 points on 6-for-16 shooting from the field in the contest.

After missing points from shots that were way off early in the first half, Staten was greeted with “air ball” chants from the Texas crowd each time he touched the ball for the rest of the game. Staten, a junior guard, appeared to be increasingly frustrated by the taunts as the game wore on, often forcing up uncharacteristic shots in the second half.

“Stopping [Staten] was really a team effort,” Barnes said. “He is just so terrific in the open court that we felt we had to get all five of our guys back in transition. Overall, that might be as well as we played all year defensively.”

Offensively, the Longhorns played effectively as a unit. The team had a season-high 18 assists and each of Texas’ starters had at least 11 points.

“One of the best games we’ve had as far as moving the ball,” Holland said. “They dropped into the 1-3-1 zone and tried to slow us down, but Coach Barnes said the only thing that would slow us down was dribbling, so we just kept passing.”

The Longhorns’ lone blemish on the night was perimeter defense. Texas fouled Mountaineer 3-point shooters four separate times, a rare feat at any level of basketball.

“I’ve never been a part of a team that did that,” Holland said. “Coach Barnes is pretty mad about it, so I don’t really want to talk about that.”