Despite forcing 22 turnovers and only turning the ball over 11 times, West Virginia could not escape their foes in Lubbock, Texas on Wednesday night.
West Virginia started the game with Jordan McCabe bobbling the first possession away, giving Texas Tech an easy run-out dunk to go up 2-0.
It was a sign of things to come, but the Mountaineers would settle down eventually and play an acceptable first half.
Texas Tech would eventually extend their lead to 41-30 with 1:02 left to play in the first stanza.
With all hope for momentum lost and the half looming, Gabe Osabuohien made a pair of free throws and a layup and Taz Sherman completed the rare 4-point-play, to make sure the Mountaineers would go into the half with their heads up.
West Virginia was able to turn the Red Raiders over 13 times in the first half while only turning the ball over five times themselves.
The Mountaineers still trailed at the half, 42-38.
The second half started of with a less-than-brilliant, but bright-shining, show-stealing performance by the officials.
The refs saw their time to shine and took full advantage. Just 1:10 into the second half Terrence Shannon bumped Derek Culver and received a justified technical foul. The refs then proceeded to punish West Virginia under the supposed guise of “keeping the game under control” and assessing technical fouls to Jermaine Haley and Oscar Tshiebwe. Both were guilty of talking after making big plays but it appeared to be far from taunting, by definition. Nevertheless, the refs did get their moments in the spotlight.
All reffing aside, Texas Tech did get hot from downtown, hitting seven of their 11 threes in the second half. Davide Moretti had at least a career high for points, with 25. He may have set a career high for flops, but sadly, that stat is not tracked.
Big 12 official Doug Sermons would go almost 11 minutes before returning to his place in the sun, assessing a mystery technical foul to Gabe Osabuohien with 5:37 to go.
Despite the technical fouls, the Mountaineers cut the lead to 8 with 3:28 to go on two Derek Culver free throws. (When WVU was given a bench warning by the officials).
West Virginia would continue battling, further cutting the lead to as few as six with 1:29 on a pair of Culver free throws.
That is as close as the good guys from Morgantown would get as they eventually succumbed to the Red Raiders, 89-81.
The brightest spot of the night was Derek Culver from the free throw line. He single handedly kept the game close going an astounding 14-16 from the free throw line. Largely thanks to Culver, the Mountaineers shot 80% from the charity stripe (33-41).
West Virginia returns to action Saturday against Kansas State.