Deniz Kilicli scored a career high 25 points and caused almost the entire Red Raider team to foul out as West Virginia edged out Texas Tech at home Saturday evening 66-64. Freshman Eron Harris added another 15 during his 31 minutes of play. For the math majors reading this, you realize that those two players accounted for more than half of WVU's total points for this game. In fact, no other player on the WVU squad managed to reach double digits, although Terry Henderson finished with 8. Put another way, a senior and two freshman were about the only offense this team could muster against the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech, meanwhile, had 4 players reach double figures with forward Jaye Crockett leading the team with 18 off the bench. Dusty Hannahs added another 12, all from 3 point land, as WVU continued to prove that it can't cover a good shooter. Despite any offensive success the Red Raiders had, it was limited by foul trouble as 3 of their 4 big men fouled out of the game. By the end of the contest, only Kader Tapsoba was left to guard the mountain of man we call Deniz.
Once again, free throws were a key in this game as WVU made 24-41. That's right, we shot 41 free throws this game and made more than half of them. It's a good thing that Tech was feeling generous with their fouls too, since WVU turned the ball over a whopping 17 times. Games like this are difficult to watch, but with the season we've been having, it has become the norm, rather than the exception. As any weekend golfer knows: they don't draw pictures on the scorecard. Thank God.
For those who watched this game, did it feel like a repeat of almost every other WVU win this year? Here's the script: WVU gets the lead early, stall, turns the ball over extensively, gives the lead back in the second half, and lets the opposing team shoot a 3 that would have won the game if it had fallen. With the exception of the tremendous offensive effort by the Istanbull and Eron Harris' consistent scoring addition, this game was another snoozer.
I'm sure Coach Huggins will have these guys tearing up some more treadmills during practice, but the machines can breathe easier since K. State is looming on Monday. If, and that's a big IF, WVU can find another way to grind out a win against the Wildcats, the tourney could still be an option. For now, WVU fans can revel in this win for as long as it takes to turn the channel. After all, a win is a win.
As always, Let's GO!