USA TODAY Sports
The West Virginia men's basketball program gets their first win in a crucial February away from home against Texas Tech with good shooting and better defense.
The majority of the box score for this game would not do this contest justice. WVU shot as well as they have all season in this winning effort in Lubbock with 56.5% field goal percentage including going 10-18 (55.6%) from three. The Mountaineers ended with 10 steals, hit 15-20 from the charity stripe, and ended up winning the game by 16. While the Red Raiders never had the lead, the best way to sum up this game would be the 40 turnovers (West Virginia with 18) between the two sides. While an ugly game to watch, it doesn't erase the rest of the box score. This Eers squad was able to control the game using sound defense and decent shot selection ..... but let's not kid ourselves. If WVU did not hit 10 threes (six of them between Gary Browne and Eron Harris), the score would be much closer.
That being said, they did fall. For much of this season, those shots simply wouldn't fall except for the last two minutes in garbage time. Huggins will certainly take it considering his team has been in ranked in the 300s for most of the season in shot percentage. The freshman rising star Eron Harris lead the charge with 18 points with supporting performances from Aaric Murray (12 points), Gary Browne, and Juwan Staten (both 11.)
West Virginia started out very well after a few days off with a 16-4 lead going into the first TV timeout. As we all have come accustomed to, the Red Raiders chipped away at this lead immediately going on a 14-6 run. The rest of the first half was closely contested with WVU going into the half with a 34-31 lead. While Texas Tech brought back a Mountaineer first half lead within three going into the break, the second half was controlled and organized by West Virginia not allowing Chris Walker's team back into the game. A late WVU push denied any kind of Cinderella story and stretched the -3 point spread to a final deficit to 16.
It needs to be remembered that this Texas Tech team may end within the bottom three teams of the Big XII standings. This and the next two games (home vs. Texas, away at TCU) are games that WVU need to win to even be considered for any type of postseason. For now, a good win for WVU and the team comes back to Morgantown to host the Longhorns on Monday night.