Prior to Wednesday’s game, West Virginia University men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins said Texas Tech was dangerous because the Red Raiders were desperate.
The No. 12 Mountaineers learned just how dangerous Texas Tech can be as the sharp-shooting Red Raiders never trailed in an 89-81 win at United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock, Texas.
Texas Tech (13-7, 4-3 Big 12) did not shoot the ball very well in its loss earlier this season in Morgantown, but the Red Raiders reversed that trend in the return game in Lubbock. TTU connected on 11 of 17 3-point attempts.
In addition to a flurry of shots falling for the Red Raiders, the other constant on Wednesday was the sound of the referee’s whistle. West Virginia and Texas Tech combined for 54 fouls — four of those were technicals, including one each for WVU’s Jermaine Haley, Oscar Tshiebwe and Gabe Osabuohien.
After a slow start, WVU (16-4, 4-3 Big 12) tied the game at 21 with a little more than eight minutes to play in the first half. Texas Tech countered with a 15-5 run to take a 36-26 lead with 3:47 to play in the half, but the Mountaineers had another run in them.
Junior guard Taz Sherman completed a four-point play after being fouled on a made 3-pointer to cut TTU’s lead to six points, and Osabuohien made a layup in the final seconds of the half to set the score at 42-38 going into the break.
The Red Raiders went back to work from beyond the arc in the second half to build their largest lead of the game, 15 points, at 70-55 with 10:36 to play.
The Mountaineers never went away Wednesday, despite foul trouble and Texas Tech’s strong shooting performance. West Virginia got within six points several times down stretch, but never any closer. WVU rattled off seven consecutive points to get the score to 73-67 with 8:18 to play, but a cold stretch followed and the Texas Tech lead ballooned to 13 points.
West Virginia made it a single-digit game again late, but did not make a field goal over the game’s final 3:53 — though foul shots did keep it close.
For the Mountaineers, Culver — thanks in large part to a stellar 14 of 16 performance at the foul line — led the team with 16 points but only grabbed two rebounds. Osabuohien was right behind him with 15 points. Sherman scored 11 in the loss, with Haley and Deuce McBride each scoring 10.
Texas Tech’s Davie Moretti led all scorers with a career-high 25 points while freshman guard Terrence Shannon chipped in with 23 points. Not far behind Moretti and Shannon was TTU’s Jahmius Ramsey with 21 points.
WVU returns home to take on Kansas State, which beat the Mountaineers in the first meeting this season. That game is scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m. in the WVU Coliseum.