MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Terry Henderson
scored a career-high 28 points and West Virginia overcame some late-game miscues to hang on for an 87-81 victory over Texas Tech.
“We had all these shots against Texas and we had all these shots against Kansas State and we didn’t make them. Today we made them,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “Terry shot it really well today.”
Henderson outdueled Tech’s Dusty Hannahs, who scored 25 and made all seven of his 3-point field goal tries, by scoring 20 of his 28 points in the second half.
And the Mountaineers needed all of them, especially when freshman Devin Williams
drew his fourth foul with 14:39 left in the game and would not return.
Eight straight points by Henderson during a two-minute stretch gave the Mountaineers a seven-point lead, 69-62, and then Juwan Staten
and Eron Harris
added clutch baskets to make it an eight-point advantage with seven minutes to go.
The Mountaineers had a 13-point lead with 5:13 remaining when they began leaking oil once again. Three free throws by Robert Turner made it a seven-point game, and then Hannahs’ seventh 3 with 44 seconds turned it into a two-possession game.
Another foul by Harris gave Turner three more free throws with 30 seconds left; Turner got all three to go down to make it a four-point game, 85-81.
“I don’t know how many different ways you can say don’t foul, but we kept fouling,” said Huggins.
Twice, West Virginia nearly lost the ball attempting to get it up the court before Henderson was eventually fouled with 22 seconds left. He made both free throws to provide the final margin.
“We got up by whatever it was, 10 or 11, and we stopped guarding,” said Huggins. “I don’t know how many times or how many different ways to say ‘you can’t let Hannahs get a wide open look’ and we just gave him two wide open looks and it got him going.
“We get ahead and we let down; we quit playing,” said Huggins.
WVU (11-8, 3-3) jumped out to an early 10-point lead and then saw Texas Tech go on a 16-0 run to flip the game around. West Virginia eventually ended the drought when Gary Browne
hit a pair of free throws with 7:55 remaining, and the Mountaineers eventually retook the lead with four straight points from Staten and Nathan Adrian
with 2:10 left in the half.
It looked like West Virginia was going to go into the locker room with a four point lead at halftime, but Adrian’s length-of-the-floor inbound pass was not touched by anyone with 1.9 seconds left, giving Tech the ball underneath its basket.
Hannahs got the ball to Dejan Kravic in the corner and he hit an off-balanced 3 ahead of the horn to give the Red Raiders a one-point deficit at the break.
“It’s my bad at the end of the half,” admitted Huggins. “Nate asked, ‘Should we run home run?’ I ‘m thinking maybe we can get a basket and I should have known that we weren’t going to catch it. Last time we tried it against them we didn’t catch it so that’s my fault.”
West Virginia shot the ball extremely well tonight, hitting 54 percent of its field goal attempts (29 of 54), including 55 percent from 3 (11 of 20).
Staten contributed 16 points, seven assists and five rebounds while Harris scored 15 and Adrian added 10 coming off the bench.
“Nate shot it well and it gives them another guy that they have to guard out there,” said Huggins. “For a while they weren’t guarding him because he wasn’t making them, but when he makes shots like that they have to step out there and it opens up the lane for Juwan to get in and do what he does.”
After Hannahs’ 25, Tech got 16 from Jaye Crockett, 15 from Toddrick Gotcher and 13 from Turner.
The victory snaps a season long three-game losing streak for the Mountaineers and stops Tech’s winning streak at two. The Red Raiders drop to 10-9, 2-4 with the loss.
Just 16 days ago West Virginia needed overtime to knock off the Red Raiders 89-86 in Lubbock.
West Virginia is now off for its longest road trip of the season, first traveling to No. 11 Oklahoma State for a Saturday game to be televised nationally on ESPN2 before wrapping up the road trip at Baylor Tuesday night. That game will also be televised by ESPN2.