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West Virginia Continues to Roll with 78-62 Victory Over Texas Tech



Photo: Denny Medley (Big 12)

KANSAS CITY — In the first round of the Big 12 Tournament, West Virginia cruised to a 78-62 win over Texas Tech. WVU has won their last four out of five games.

West Virginia (19-13, 7-11 Big 12) didn’t trail after the eight-minute mark in the first half.

For the first time this season, Texas Tech (16-16, 5-13 Big 12) was without their head coach Mark Adams, who was suspended on Sunday for racially insensitive comments towards a player. It’s unlikely Adams will return to coach the Red Raiders this season.

The question would be if Texas Tech would play more freely or would they fizzle out and end their season?

That question was answered in the second half when the Red Raiders shot 7-of-30 from the field.

After a slow start to begin the game, West Virginia went on a 15-4 run towards the end of the first half. WVU went into the half with an 8-point lead despite allowing 16 points in the paint in the opening frame.

WVU G Erik Stevenson checked out of the game early but sped the game up with a fast pace once back in. Stevenson recorded 18 points, six assists and three rebounds in his first Big 12 postseason game.

With 16 minutes remaining in the game, fifth-year senior Kedrian Johnson created two extra possessions with a steal and an offensive rebound that led to a Tre Mitchell three. Johnson, who has been playing his best basketball of his collegiate career, finished with 20 points, six rebounds and three steals.

West Virginia won the rebounding battle, 39-35, thanks to big men Jimmy Bell and Mitchell pulling down 17 combined.

Heading into the game, West Virginia was projected a 9-seed in the latest bracketology by Joe Lunardi. WVU would play Illinois in the first round, with the winner most likely playing 1-seed Alabama in Birmingham.

West Virginia will advance and face 1-seed Kansas on Thursday afternoon in the quarterfinals. The Mountaineers and Jayhawks will tipoff at 3 p.m. on ESPN/2. The winner of that game will play Baylor or Iowa State.

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