West Virginia rides emotion to claim 84-74 Senior Day win over Texas Tech

West Virginia seniors Jevon Carter and Dax Miles Jr. will go down in history as two of the greatest players of Coach Bob Huggins’ coaching tenure with the Mountaineers.

The No. 20 Mountaineers sent their two graduating seniors off to a fitting departure Monday on Senior Night. Hot early shooting enabled them to hammer  No. 12 Texas Tech in an 84-74 triumph. The win boosts the Mountaineers  into sole possession of second place in the Big 12.

West Virginia scored the first 16 points in the game as they charged to a 21-3 advantage with 13:11 left in the first half. The Mountaineers missed their first two shots and then hit their next seven shots to put the injury-riddled Red Raiders away early.

The cold-shooting Red Raiders played without scoring leader Keenan Evans (toe) and starting forward Justin Gray (concussion). Gray was injured Saturday against Kansas and did not  travel with the team.

West Virginia improves 22-8 and 11-6 in Big 12 play. Texas Tech drops to 22-8 and 10-7.

3 Who Mattered

  • Jevon Carter: Another strong effort for Carter, who notched a team-high 19 points, 7 assists and 3 steals.
  • Sagaba Konate: It was a dominant all-around performance inside for Konate, who produced 16 points on 7-of-8 field-goal shooting. The Mountaineers’ center also produced 3 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.  Konate now has 100 blocked shots for the season.
  • Dax Miles Jr.: A fast start helped him account for 18 points — 11 coming in the first half — along with 4 assists.

Turning Point

It didn’t take long Monday night. After West Virginia missed its first 2 shots of the game, the Mountaineers then hit 7 straight shots and 9 of their next 10 to snatch control of the game.

Texas Tech would come no closer than within 7 points during the rest of the game.

3 observations

  • Roommates Miles and Carter provided one of the most touching glimpses of their devotion to West Virginia. When they kissed the West Virginia logo before the start of the game, it provides one of the memorable moments of Huggins’ coaching tenure.
  • Texas Tech coach Chris Beard decided that discretion outstrips valor when he decided to keep Evans, Gray and Smith out of the lineup. It hurt them Monday night, but no doubt helps them get healthier for upcoming postseason games.
  • As strong as West Virginia played at the start of the game, another lull enabled Texas Tech to climb back in the game. It clearly frustrates Huggins, as it has all season.

The number

West Virginia’s offensive effort enabled them to score the most points against Texas Tech by a Big 12 foe this season. The previous high scoring game against the Red Raiders was 79 points by Oklahoma State on Feb. 21.

What’s next for West Virginia basketball

The Mountaineers finish the regular season with a trip to Texas for a game at noon Saturday.

West Virginia took the first game between the teams earlier this season. The Mountaineers hammered the Longhorns for an 86-51 triumph in Morgantown on Jan. 20, blowing the game open with a run of nine consecutive field goals midway through the second half.

Carter went for a game-high 22 points and eight assists in the earlier game and Konate chipped in with 10 points, 14 rebounds and 6 blocked shots.

Texas was limited to 34 percent shooting in the first game and committed 15 turnovers.  West Virginia dominated the game inside with a 45-29 rebounding edge and a 21-6 edge in second-chance points.

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