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.”
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.”