|Field Goal %||43.6||49.2|
|Three Point %||41.7||43.5|
|Free Throw %||64.0||59.3|
The 20th ranked West Virginia Mountaineers took down the 12th ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders in Morgantown Monday night.
The Mountaineers rode the emotions of Senior Night to an early 16-0 lead in the first four and a half minutes of the game. “Energy had a lot to do with it.” Said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins. “When we play with energy we’re pretty good. It’s hard to play with that kind of energy all the time, obviously, but that gets us moving a little bit.”
West Virginia forward Sagaba Konate kept the crowd on their feet after tip-off with a dunk to put the first points on the board and senior guard Daxter Miles Jr would follow that up with three to give the Mountaineers an early 5-0 lead.
The Mountaineers continued to poor it on early as Esa Ahmad would drive the baseline and throw it down, then Sags got his first block of the game on the other end and senior guard Jevon Carter hit a three to put West Virginia up 10-0 in the first three minutes of the game.
Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard would need a timeout to settle his players down, but they would come out of the huddle and turn the ball over for another dunk by Esa.
Carter got a steal on the Red Raiders ensuing possession and took it down the floor for a layup, and just like that the Mountaineers were up 16-0 at the 15:37 mark.
Texas Tech guard Niem Stevenson finally got his team on the board with a three, but West Virginia forward Lamont West came right back at them with a three of his own.
Dax hit a little jumper two possessions later and West Virginia was leading Texas Tech 21-3 in the first seven minutes of play.
The Mountaineers were up 20 (27-7) before Texas Tech went on a 15-2 run to cut the lead to just seven after a Davide Moretti three with 3:07 left in the half.
West Virginia went right back at Texas Tech with a 7-0 run, led by Beetle Boldens five points and a steal from Carter followed by a layup, to build the Mountaineers lead back up to 14 (42-28) with a minute and seven seconds remaining.
West Virginia took a 13-point lead into halftime, 42-29, behind 53% shooting from the field and 46.2% from three-point range.
Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr both had 11 points to lead the Mountaineers in the first half.
Texas Tech started the second half with the ball and a pair of free throws from guard Zhaire Smith and guard Brandone Francis hit a three to cap off an 8-2 run in the first minute and a half cutting the West Virginia lead back down to seven.
Lamont West answered with a three to put the Mountaineers up 10. Another three by Bolden and after he went 1-2 from the free throw line finished an 8-1 run to build their lead back up to 14 with 16:18 left in the game.
West Virginia missed their next seven shots but was still able to maintain a double-digit lead, until Sagaba Konate would hit a mid-range jump shot to end the drought.
The Red Raiders brought the lead back down to 11 after a three from Stevenson. The Mountaineers responded with a 7-0 run and Daxter’s pair of free throws and a three pointer led the way to put West Virginia up 18 (66-48) with a little over eight minutes to play in the game.
With 6:29 to go in the game, Jevon Carter got another steal and raced down to the other end of the floor and laid it in plus the foul. He made the free throw completing the three-point play giving the Mountaineers a 19-point lead.
After a pair of free throws from Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver to cut the lead to 13, Jevon Carter responded with a three with 2:31 left and that was the final nail in the coffin.
The two senior guards Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr carried the Mountaineers to a 10-point victory in their final game inside the WVU Coliseum. Carter finished with 21 points, seven assists and three steals, while Miles ended the game with 18 points and four assists.
Esa Ahmad had another double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. This is the third game in a row he has scored in double figures and back to back games with a double-double.
“He’s playing hard. I think he was trying to feel his way through for awhile but he’s playing harder now. He didn’t shoot it very well today, he missed a bunch of them around the basket which we got to work on. He’s giving us effort. When he gives us effort he’s gonna get things done.” Said Huggins.
Every time Texas Tech went on a run or got within striking distance West Virginia responded. This is not the same team that struggled to hold onto leads during their skid in the middle of the season. This Mountaineer team is trending in the right direction at the right time.
West Virginia travels to Austin, Texas this weekend to take on the Texas Longhorns this Saturday in the final regular season game noon.