|Guard Eron Harris came off the bench to scored a team-high 22 points to lead West Virginia to a 74-69 victory over TCU Saturday afternoon.
|Michael Clements photo
|The Last Meeting
KANSAS CITY – Dejan Kravic’s follow-up basket with 0.5 seconds left lifted ninth-seeded Texas Tech to a 71-69 victory over eighth-seeded West Virginia in the opening round of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship in the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia escaped Fort Worth with a 74-69 victory over TCU on Saturday afternoon. Now, the Mountaineers will try and do the same against Texas Tech on Monday night in Lubbock.
West Virginia got 22 points off the bench from Eron Harris
and a 15-point, seven-rebound, three-assist performance from guard Juwan Staten
, including the final nine points for the Mountaineers over the remaining 4:07 of the game.
Harris is now averaging a team-best 18.6 points per game while shooting 47.3 percent from the floor, Staten shows averages of 16.2 points, 6.1 assists and 6.3 rebounds per game while sophomore guard Terry Henderson
has averages of 10.9 points and 2.5 boards per outing.
Freshman forward Devin Williams
chips in with averages of 9.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game after getting 12 points and eight boards on Saturday against TCU.
The Red Raiders, like the Horned Frogs, are much improved this year under first-year coach Tubby Smith, despite dropping a nine-point decision at home to 13th-ranked Iowa State on Saturday. Tech trailed by 15 at halftime to the Cyclones before making a run in the second half.
Using many of the same players from last year’s team that eliminated West Virginia from the Big 12 tournament, Smith has forged an 8-6 record so far this year that includes victories over Northern Arizona, Texas Southern, South Dakota State, Houston and Central Arkansas.
Tech’s six losses have all been against stiff competition: Alabama, Pitt, Arizona, LSU, Arizona State and Iowa State.
Forward Jaye Crockett leads the Red Raiders in scoring with an average of 14.1 points per game while shooting 59.2 percent from the floor. Mountaineer fans recall the 18 points Crockett scored off the bench in the first round of last year’s Big 12 tournament, as well as Dejan Kravic’s tip-in basket with 0.5 seconds left that gave Tech a 71-69 victory.
Kravic is averaging 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game this year for the Red Raiders.
Jordan Tolbert, who also played against the Mountaineers last year, shows averages of 12.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
Texas Tech is ranked 159th nationally in scoring averaging 73.5 points per game, 212th in rebounding averaging 34.9 boards per game and 216th in assists averaging 12 .4 per game, but Tech is 60th in field goal percentage shooting 47.5 overall as a team.
West Virginia is 33rd nationally in scoring averaging 80.6 points per game, 80th in rebounding averaging 38.1 rebounds per contest and 91st in assists at 14.4 per outing. The Mountaineers are 106th in field goal percentage at 46.2 percent, although WVU shot just 40.7 percent in Saturday’s win at TCU.
Monday night’s game will pit two of the most successful coaches in college basketball history – West Virginia’s Bob Huggins taking two different schools to the Final Four and accumulating 732 career victories heading into Monday night, while Texas Tech’s Tubby Smith claiming an NCAA title with Kentucky in 1998 and showing 519 career wins.
Smith is 2-0 versus Huggins, beating him once when he was at Kentucky and Huggins was at Cincinnati, and then again when Smith was at Minnesota and Huggins was at West Virginia in the finals of the Puerto Rico Tipoff Classic in 2010.
Texas Tech is 7-2 in games played at United Spirit Arena this year.
Tip off is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be televised on the Big 12 Network. Stations carrying the game locally include: MASN (Capital region), PCNC (Pittsburgh), WIYE-My 5 (Parkersburg), WVFX (North Central West Virginia), WQCW (Charleston-Huntington) and WTOV-DT2 (Northern Panhandle).