Running the gauntlet is a saying that gets thrown around lightly these days, but West Virginia has embodied that common colloquialism over the course of the last three games.
Starting with last Saturday’s loss at number nine Kansas and the subsequent loss to number five Baylor in Morgantown on Tuesday, West Virginia entered Saturday’s contest in Lubbock on a two-game losing streak.
In what would be a game of lead changes, Jalen Bridges started off the festivities hitting a three to put the Mountaineers up 3-0. The first half was a closely contested back-and-forth with six lead changes before the Red Raiders were able to hang on to a 36-34 lead heading to the locker room.
Taz Sherman returned to form out of the gate, leading the Mountaineers with 13 first-half points.
The second half would see the pesky Mountaineers would hang around until late when Texas Tech would use a series of one-sided, weak foul calls to finally gain an insurmountable 13 point lead and finish the game, 78-65.
West Virginia, a similar defensive team to Texas Tech, had foul trouble throughout the game.
Several uncalled jump ball tie-ups were called fouls amongst other strange foul calls against the Mountaineers. West Virginia ended the game with our players on the bench, fouled out.
The final foul total from Lubbock was WVU 30 fouls, Texas Tech 20. This is significant because both teams play tough, similar defense. For one team to have 33% more fouls called on them in a game like this is unusual, to say the least.
Despite whistle frustrations, Bob Huggin’s crew had some deficiencies on the court that added to the loss. Not only did they out-foul by ten, they were also outrebounded by 10; 39-29. Most shockingly the Red Raiders had 17 offensive rebounds to the Mountaineers 8.
West Virginia had only two double-figure scorers. Sherman ended with 18 and Malik Curry came off the bench to contribute 11. Curry was an impressive 7-7 from the free-throw line.
West Virginia returns to action Wednesday at 8PM ET when Oklahoma visits Morgantown. That game will be broadcast on ESPN2.