To quote Bob Huggins, the West Virginia Mountaineers aren’t dead yet. The No. 10 seed Mountaineers shocked the No. 2 seed, Big 12 co-champion Texas Tech Red Raiders, 79-74, in the quarterfinal round of the Big 12 Tournament, and it didn’t even take the rumored return of Sagaba Konate to get it done. The win marks the first time the lowest seed in the Big 12 Tournament has ever defeated a top two seeded team, and the first time since 1998 that a No. 10 seed has played in a semifinal game.
Texas Tech jumped out to a 4-0 lead early, but freshman forward Emmitt Matthews Jr. sparked what would become a 23-7 Mountaineer run with a corner three after a missed dunk by Lamont West. Texas Tech narrowed what was a 17 point Mountaineer lead to 4 points with under two minutes left in the first, but the Mountaineers weren’t about to let momentum escape their hands. With less than a minute left, Matthews knocked down a jumper and followed it up with an incredible dunk after a Matt Mooney turnover to draw the foul and give West Virginia a 9 point lead at the half.
West Virginia and Texas Tech traded blows throughout the entirety of the second half, with the Red Raiders threatening the Mountaineers’ lead multiple times before falling back into a double-digit deficit . It wasn’t until Texas Tech began a 13-3 run with less than six minutes remaining that outcome was ever in doubt for West Virginia. Jarrett Culver put the Red Raiders within one point of the Mountaineers with an offensive rebound and tip-in with 50 seconds left, but a three-point play from Haley gave the Mountaineers a some breathing room. Jarrett Culver answered by converting a three-point play of his own to close West Virginia’s lead to one point once again.
Jordan McCabe made two free throws to extend West Virginia’s lead to 77-74. Jarrett Culver forced an early three on the other end, which led to Matthews making a pair of free throws to seal the game for the Mountaineers.
Matthews posted a career-high 28 points, 8 rebounds to lead all scorers. Jordan McCabe finished with 13 points and 8 assists, while Jermaine Haley added 11 points, 5 rebounds. Derek Culver struggled to get his shots inside the paint to fall, but went 4-for-4 from the line to finish with 6 points, 13 rebounds. Lamont West and Chase Harler finished with 10 points and 7 points, respectively.
The Mountaineers will face the winner of the ongoing No. 3 seed Kansas/No. 6 seed Texas matchup tomorrow at 9:00PM ET with a spot in the championship game on the line. That game will be broadcast on ESPN2.