MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Deniz Kilicli scored a career-high 25 points, including eight straight after West Virginia coughed up a second-half lead, and the Mountaineers hung on to beat Texas Tech 66-64.

Red Raiders point guard Josh Gray missed a 24-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Kilicli made 9-of-11 shots and grabbed eight rebounds, helping WVU to a 39-28 edge on the boards. West Virginia (13-12, 6-5 Big 12) overcame 18 turnovers and spotty foul shooting to improve to 6-0 against the bottom three teams in the conference standings.

“The truth of the matter is, to go 24-of-41 from the foul line and turn it over 18 times and still win, is really pretty remarkable,” said WVU coach Bob Huggins.

Texas Tech (9-14, 2-10) got 18 points and 10 rebounds from sixth man Jaye Crockett, but he became the third Red Raider to foul out with 2:31 left. Texas Tech was whistled for 30 fouls to WVU’s 18 leading to a 41-18 disparity in free-throw attempts.

“Just do the math — it’s a huge key,” Texas Tech coach Chris Walker said of the foul differential. “(But) I’m not going to blame it on that. We had more than enough opportunities to do what we needed to do. We had a shot at the end of the game, and that’s all you can ask for.”

As Crockett exited, Tech trailed 64-56. But Dusty Hannahs’ back-to-back 3-pointers trimmed the margin to 66-64 with 48 seconds left. After Juwan Staten missed a runner at the end of WVU’s next possession, Tech rebounded and raced into the frontcourt where Walker called timeout with 9.3 seconds remaining.

Walker designed a 3-point attempt for Jamal Williams, figuring Hannahs would be covered. With Tech unable to get the ball to Williams, and the clock about to expire, Gray forced up a long 3 that barely scraped the front of the rim.

“(Gray’s) a good player — he decided to take a 3,” Walker said. “We would have suggested that he drive it, but if he made the 3 we would be having a different conversation right now.”

Kilicli matched his career high with 22 points on a hoop-and-foul with 4:33 left. He missed the and-one free throw but Gary Browne knifed inside of the 6-foot-7 Crockett for the rebound. After a reset, Kilicli was fouled in the low post and got his new career mark by making 1-of-2 free throws for a 59-52 lead.

“If we could pass the ball better, I think (Kilicli) could have gotten 40,” Huggins said. “He did a great job of sealing. I thought he was open quite a few more times than when we actually got him the ball.”

Jordan Tolbert scored 10 points for Texas Tech but fouled out with 6:12 left and the Raiders down 54-51. The sophomore forward picked up his fifth while tangling with Gary Browne in the paint after Tech had stolen an errant pass by Eron Harris.

HARRIS & HENDERSON?

Harris scored 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting. Terry Henderson scored eight points in 15 first-half minutes but only played three minutes in the second half.

“I’d love to play them (together) — they just have to do a better job defensively and they have to pass the ball better,” Huggins said. “I think you noticed that when Deniz didn’t get the ball, they were in the game together.

“Putting those two guys on the floor, with their ability to make shots, is where we’ve got to get to. At the same time they’ve got to be able to throw it to the big fellow when he’s open — and guard their guy.”

REBOUNDING EDGE

Aaric Murray collected seven rebounds, though for the third consecutive game he picked up two quick fouls off the bench. (This time he needed 2:22 of game action.)

Reserve point guard Juwan Staten grabbed seven rebounds as well.

Outside of Crockett, no Texas Tech player collected more than four rebounds, leading Walker to lament: “If we rebounded today, we probably win the game by 10.”

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Comments

  • Jethro

    It is tough to watch this team but i will stand by my mountaineers! We will get better with time

  • mark

    Huggs really has no excuse not playing Henderson and Harris together. NONE of our other guards can make a shot. Incredible we could shoot that poorly from the FT line on our HOME court and still win. Good foul shooters arch the ball much higher than our guys.

    • Oh Did Ya?

      I totally agree. While playing together they may have "not passed well or guarded their guys" but we were miraculously ahead by 7-10 points only to see that lead disappear when they didn't play together. I'm a big Huggs fan but he has to give that combo more of a chance - what does he have to lose?

  • JDC

    Well a win is a win!!!! This is a brand new team with a bunch of new faces, next year should be much better with experience and the incoming recruits which is suppose to be the best one of late. Hopefully,we can make the nit to get more games under our belt!! Yeah the game was ugly and I've always cheered for our team but in the past when were we always world beaters in the big east?? We barely would finish a game or two over .500 in conference play. You take DePaul, providence, usf, Rutgers away from our schedule and we could've been below .500 in conf play!!!! Gale Catlet took us to the big dance how many times??? How many +25 win seasons did he have? We haven't been exactly duke or uk over the years(it is what it is) give the coach some time to see if he can build the wvu brand, go eers!!!

  • Chris

    This is going to be a great team next year...mark my words...lots of talent...just needs developed by playing together more.

  • JDH

    Kilicli had a pretty good game. I like the idea of a solid recruiting class to compliment a more seasoned and mature version of Hinds, Hendrson, and Harris next year.

    All you Beilein lovers need to ask yourselves if you really believe he'd have done any better had he stayed and whether or not you have any self respect in publicly stating that you wish he had. I wonder where all of you were back in March of 2010...? Probably the same folks that think Beilein signed Ebanks and Jones...("buh-buh-buh Beilein's recruits..."). I know some of our fan-base is wallowing in the glory of that NIT victory back in 2007 but Huggins seems to have taken us to the Final Four for only the second time in school history. I haven't forgotten that. We're having a down year; it happens to every school once in a while.

    • brian

      I agree, JDH. I constantly read comments stating "Huggins won with Beilein's recruits". Well, coach Belein's success can be attributed in large part to a Gale Catlett recruit, Kevin Pittsnogle. And btw, Belieins team losing a 20 point (!) second half lead to Louisville in the NCAA regional final is disappointing at best.

    • Stan

      Well said JDH. I get sick of hearing all this Beilein talk. You said it right, people must really love winning NITs.

      • Mac

        I guess you forget Beilein taking WVU to the Elite 8 and nearly Final Four. Who knew WVU would choke away a 20 point halftime lead to UofL.

        • JDH

          So.... Trying to figure out your point but I presume that is so profound that it escapes me entirely. I gather that it has something to do with my own forgetfulness and the clarity with which you remember the squandering of a 20 point lead because Beilein's teams couldn't score in the paint.

  • Sutton209

    They are extremely hard to watch, much easier to just listen to the game and envision they have some talent. Much better teams were playing in Fairmont at the same time, where West Liberty beat Fairmont 103 to 99.

  • unclec

    Things will get better when we learn to play big 12 not big east. Thanks coach H . We could be U K with all the 5 stars and get beat by 30. Big 12 plays a lot softer.

  • Wemakerain

    A win is a win, everyone on the team was looking ahead to the tough important games ahead (yeah I know they are all important but I was 18 once too). Even though they were looking ahead, still found a way to win, not too bad

  • pghmountaineer

    I agree Jack, but our bigs are always in foul trouble. You're right the game starts to get boring when most of it is played at the free throw line.
    I've not seen a team as inconsistent as these guys for a long time. But then again, I guess it has to do with the talent level too.

  • Jack

    Way too many fouls. Makes the game boring to watch. Rough road ahead for this team.

  • pghmountaineer

    Man, it's painful to watch 2 conference bottom feeders play basketball.

  • Hoffy

    Thanks to Kilicli for putting this team on his back this afternoon. Played 38 minutes and I think WVU needed all of them from him. Ugly game! Glad we got the win.

  • big tom

    wow, we barely beat a terrible team on our home court.. sad/
    this team is hard to watch, looks like a bunch of freshmen right off the turnup truck.
    huggie is doing about all he can do with this group, i am sure they are of great character, but most of the team belongs in div 2.
    they are just overmatched most of the time.
    i don't see us winning anymore games this year.
    i feel for huggie, but he did recruit and sign them , he made his bed, now he has to figure out what to do with them.
    Murray is probably the biggest disappointment. i really expected big things from him , and he appears to be a dud.
    if none of our next years recruits can help us, figure it will be just another bad yr. for huggie.. man , he's draggin this team into total mediocrity after beilein built us, up.
    huggie has lost his edge with his fat salary, and all that security of a lifetime contract.
    just can't imagine, how we could have fallen this far this fast.

    • Chris

      I have a totally different take on this team. During the "third quarter" vs Baylor WVU looked like a pro team...they just need more getting used to each other. It's a totally new team this year. Murray is brilliant and is a great go to guy...and H&h will be back next year with Staton....this team will eventually be dynamic.

    • Poca Tom

      This is Huggins team, He recruited them, He coaches them..... Future looks bleak!!!! Question: Would this team even 1 game in the BE? Get ready for a steep downturn in WVU sports