When West Virginia University sophomore guard Miles “Deuce” McBride picked up his third foul in Monday night’s game against Texas Tech, the Red Raiders were leading the Mountaineers by just two points, 47-45.
McBride, WVU’s leading scorer so far this season who finished with 24 points Monday, had been relatively quite to that point in the game, scoring just seven points. His Texas Tech counterpart, the Big 12’s leading scorer Mac McClung — who finished with a game-high 30 points — had similarly only scored eight points. Both were clearly heavily involved down the stretch, but it was the WVU sophomore who got the last laugh with a game-winner to send the No. 11 Mountaineers past No. 11 Texas Tech 88-87.
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McClung started to take over the game with McBride on the bench in foul trouble. The Georgetown transfer scored 11 points during a 17 to 7 run for Texas Tech before McBride would re-enter the game with 11:57 left to play.
At that point the Red Raiders’ lead had swelled to 12, 64-52, and McBride knew he had work to do.
“Obviously, we were down and I was out [of the game]. I was seeing McClung hitting shots and they were doing a good job of really moving the ball,” McBride said. “I knew once I got back in it was time to go. We didn’t have any time to waste and I knew if I had clean looks I was going to take them.”
The two teams traded baskets for a few minutes until there was 7:40 left in the game and Texas Tech lead still sat at 12 points. From there, it was all McBride. The sophomore would score 14 of WVU’s next 22 points, culminating in a 3-pointer with 1:36 left that tied that game at 84.
Just a few seconds later, however, McClung hit a 3-pointer of his own to take the lead right back.
“He’s a good player, good players are going to make big shots,” McBride said of McClung.
After a Taz Sherman layup made it a one-point game, 87-86, WVU coach Bob Huggins called a timeout with 16 seconds left and possession. In drawing up a hopeful game-winning play, Huggins knew he wanted the ball in McBride’s hands.
“We just wanted to give Deuce a head of steam and clear a side for him,” Huggins said. “If he got stopped then Taz was supposed to circle around behind and hopefully they all would’ve collapsed on Deuce and Taz would’ve got a shot.”
After two more timeouts, one by each team, McBride did eventually receive the ball on an inbounds pass and make a drive straight for the basket. He made the contested shot over two Texas Tech defenders, giving WVU an 88-87 lead with two seconds left. McClung got off a last-second attempt on the other end of the floor that was off the mark as McBride and the Mountaineers got their signature win of the season to this point.
“I knew it was good,” McBride said of his game-winning shot. “Taz told me and Jalen Bridges told me to get to the rim and finish over contact and off the glass. That’s one of the easiest shots and that’s something I work on. As soon as it left my hand, I knew it was good.”