Despite controlling the lead for the majority of Saturday afternoon’s game, a Taz Sherman-less West Virginia couldn’t avoid another second-half letdown. The Mountaineers (13-9, 2-7 Big 12) fell to the No. 14 ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders (18-5, 7-3 Big 12) — 60-53 — in the WVU Coliseum, moving WVU into sole possession of last place in the Big 12 Conference.
West Virginia was without their leading scorer due to a concussion sustained via a punch to the jaw in Monday night’s game against Baylor. Bob Huggins elected to go for a bigger starting lineup, starting Depaul transfer Pauly Paulicap in Sherman’s place.
The Mountaineers got out to an okay start, taking an early 11-2 lead with just over five minutes played. Texas Tech didn’t let WVU’s nine-point lead last long, as the Red Raiders followed up a couple of traded baskets with an 8-0 run of their own to take their first lead of the game with 9:41 remaining in the first half.
The two teams continued to trade body blows over the next couple of minutes, but it was the Mountaineers that would come out on top at the half, leading 32-26.
Out of the half, Texas Tech immediately went to work, erasing West Virginia’s lead and tying the game at 32-32 with 17:08 left to play.
The back-and-forth battle continued until the Red Raiders put together a 7-0 run midway through the half to take a seven-point lead. Despite Gabe Osabuohien’s best efforts in the final five minutes of the game, West Virginia could not muster up enough offense to close Texas Tech’s lead to less than three points.
Jalen Bridges led the Mountaineers with 16 points, while Sean McNeil scored 15 points of his own. Gabe Osabuohien finished with eight points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
The Mountaineers return to action on Tuesday, when they take on Iowa State in Morgantown. That game will tip-off at 7:00PM ET and will be broadcast exclusively on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.