scored 25 points and Terry Henderson
hit a big 3 with 18 seconds left to send it into overtime as West Virginia outlasted Texas Tech, 89-86, Monday night at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas.
Henderson’s huge 3 came after West Virginia watched an 11-point second half lead evaporate, much like its double-digit lead at Virginia Tech dissolved earlier this year when the Hokies came back to beat the Mountaineers 87-82.
“We didn’t execute well offensively, even though we shot the ball well,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “They went to a zone and we stood around. We get a little bit tired and we do that.”
If West Virginia would have made its free throws, done a better job on the glass or if the Mountaineers would have not made several head-scratching plays down the stretch it would have been a much easier night for its coach.
But they didn’t, it wasn’t and West Virginia needed an extra session to hold off a pesky Texas Tech team that also made a second-half comeback against 13th-ranked Iowa State two nights ago.
In overtime, West Virginia (10-5, 2-0) built a three-point lead on baskets by Nathan Adrian
and Staten, and then led by four, 87-83, with 36 seconds left following a pair of Staten free throws.
After Toddrick Gotcher’s 3 reduced WVU’s lead to two, 88-86, Gary Browne
was fouled with four seconds left. Before the foul, it took the Mountaineers three attempts to get the ball inbounds underneath Tech’s basket. Browne made one of two, giving Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith an opportunity to draw up a play to tie the game and send it to a second overtime with a 3-point shot.
A pass the length of the floor with 3.8 seconds was knocked off the leg of Devin Williams
underneath Tech’s basket. No time ran off the clock, and after the officials went to the monitor to look at the replay, it was determined that the play took 0.4 to happen, giving the Red Raiders 3.4 seconds to get off a game-tying shot underneath its own basket.
“I put Brandon (Watkins) over the top because I thought they may run Crockett up and have him pitch it back to somebody so they could dribble it down, but you have that debate all the time about putting a guy on the ball there,” said Huggins. “If I had to do it all over again and had a guy in the back, I wouldn’t put Brandon on the ball; I’d put one in front and one behind on Crockett (at midcourt) because they ended up getting the ball underneath their basket.”
Dusty Hannahs got the ball to Jaye Crockett in the corner and his 3 to tie it from almost behind the backboard hit the front of the rim and Browne grabbed the rebound as time expired.
“I thought we had the game going the way we wanted it to go and we stood around on defense and let them get back into the game,” said Huggins.
Yes, just another day in the office for the Mountaineers, now five games over .500 for the first time this season with a big game coming up this Saturday against 11th-ranked Oklahoma State at the Coliseum.
West Virginia shot 55.7 percent from the floor (34 of 61) – almost as well as it did from the free throw line (13 of 22 for 59.1 percent). But the real problem for the Mountaineers was on the glass where they got beat badly by nine. WVU also allowed the Red Raiders to shoot 46.7 percent, including 8 of 21 from 3.
Jordan Tolbert scored 18 points before fouling out; Toddrick added 17 and Crockett scored 15 for the Red Raiders, now 8-7, 0-2.
contributed 18, Henderson scored 16 and Williams added 12 points and seven rebounds.
“Eron was not the Eron Harris
we love to watch today,” said Huggins. “He kind of struggled, but fortunately Terry shot the ball much better than Terry’s been shooting it.”
Tonight’s win was Huggins’ first in three tries against Smith.
“I’m elated to get two wins on this road trip,” said Huggins. “We get to go home for a couple of days and hopefully we’ll have great support on Saturday and Monday. It makes a huge difference, it really does.”
Saturday’s game against the Cowboys will tip off at 4 p.m. and will be televised on the Big 12 Network.