LUBBOCK, Texas — West Virginia was re-enacting one of its patented second-half meltdowns by missing free throws, lagging on defense and generally leaking steam.

But even after squandering an 11-point lead and trailing three times during the final two minutes of regulation, the Mountaineers did enough to rescue an 89-86 overtime victory at Texas Tech on Monday night. Coupled with Saturday’s narrow win at TCU, West Virginia boarded its charter flight back to frigid Morgantown as the Big 12′s early frontrunner.

BOXSCORE: West Virginia 89, Texas Tech 86 (OT)

“I think any coach in this conference would be excited to win two games on the road,” said coach Bob Huggins. “This is a pretty hard league to win in. You’ve got to be excited to be 2-0 on the road.”

This one became a little too exciting after West Virginia (10-5, 2-0) appeared to have control early in the second half, leading 44-33 when Eron Harris buried a 3-pointer in front of the Mountaineers bench. The margin was 48-38 with 17:20 left after Harris accidentally banked home a jumper, a misleading omen that a runaway was afoot.

Instead Texas Tech (8-7, 0-2) rallied—just as it done in erasing a 20-point hole against Iowa State two days earlier. Only this rally wasn’t sparked by one of Tech’s top options, but rather by the hot hand of Dusty Hannahs, an unimposing guard who blistered WVU for 10 points in a span of 3:07. That spurt energized the woefully inadequate crowd of 5,005 at the United Spirit Arena and set the stage for a white-knuckle conclusion.

Bolstered by 65-percent second-half shooting, the Red Raiders hung close for the next eight minutes before Jaye Crockett completed a three-point play that pushed Tech ahead 71-68 with 2:55 to play.

“I thought we had the game going the way we wanted it to go, but we stood around on defense and let them get back into the game,” Huggins said.

Juwan Staten scored two of his game-high 25 points to slow Tech’s momentum, but the point guard’s biggest play of the night came on WVU’s final possession regulation—a simple chest-high pass to Terry Henderson curling off a screen, which led to the 3-point equalizer at 77-all.

MORE: Henderson recounts game-tying 3-pointer

And so the game surged to overtime, though not before Hannahs missed an open 23-footer in front of the Tech bench with 3 seconds left.

West Virginia led throughout overtime and enjoyed a cushy 88-83 edge with 15 seconds left. But o a night when nothing was meant to be easy, Tech got a 3-pointer from Toddrick Gotcher with 10 seconds left and then regained possession down 89-86 after Gary Browne missed the second of his free throws with 3.8 seconds.

After Tech’s court-long pass caromed out of bounds off WVU’s Devin Williams—necessitating the third video review of the late stages—Tech had a chance to tie, inbounding under its own basket. But Crockett’s contested 3 from the corner clanked off at the buzzer.

“This is a tough one to take,” said Red Raiders coach Tubby Smith. “I really thought we were going to find a way to win this one, but we didn’t.”

Tech wasted Jordan Tolbert’s 18-point, 12-rebound effort, capped by the forward fouling out in OT. Crockett scored 15 despite sitting out a chunk of the second half as Smith squeezed energy from his backups, and Gotcher added 17.

Playing essentially with eight scholarship players as Remi Dibo fought flu symptoms through five uneventful minutes, WVU needed every contribution it got from Harris (18 points), Henderson (16 points, five assists) and Devin Williams (12 points, seven rebounds).

Staten, seated on a concourse floor after playing 44 minutes, found some satisfaction in West Virginia pulling out a game it nearly flubbed by making only 13-of-22 foul shots and being out-rebounded 35-26.

“It’s always fun to win by a nice margin, but these are the games you live for,” he said. “Everybody wants to play college basketball in a game that comes down to the wire.”


bubble graphic

47

bubble graphic

Comments

  • Kacey

    I'm gone to convey my little brother, that he
    should also pay a visit this weblog on regular basis to get updated from most up-to-date reports.


    My blog: homepage (Kacey)

  • David Kennedy

    Looks like a great basketball season shaping up for WVU.

    Thank you, Mr. Huggins !

    I intend to be in the seats for several games

  • Steven

    Not a meltdown; on the road in an important conference game for both teams. A good win and I've always heard a win is a win is a win.

  • Marty Chase

    Two solid wins in Texas for WVU. OT took so long that it was possible to watch it in full w/o missing a play in the football game. As for the crowd...it looked like there were more fans at the D&E-Salem game in Elkins Sat afternoon.

  • 5toldU1s

    TH was clutch. Wannie is the heart and soul and nightly MVP of this team. Devin gave true quality minutes, and can hopefully continue his good performance on the unguarded shots. Watkins has at times been a true rebounder, has a high ceiling as such. The team showed it can win when Harris doesn't have a very good game. Brownie has great hustle and intensity but needs to make better decisions. Nathan will not get more minutes until he can play better defense and become better acquainted with the glass. Noreen is also a hustler and a heady player but is limited by his lack of quickness. Debo and Adrian are interchangeable in their rawness but you can see glimpses of quality ahead. Huggs has a proven track record, coaches par excellence. Are there pitfalls ahead? Of course. But we will win some big games and have a high RPI. Beyond that, who knows?

  • Yogi Wahoo

    This team is so much more fun to watch than last years....but I have an urge to swim endlessly. Can't the new media company sell ads?

  • Tim C

    Texas Tech gave Iowa State (the best team in the conference right now) all they could handle until the very end of the game. Every team in this league can win on any floor, any night. 2 road wins is just what the doctor ordered. Now take care of business at home and steal a couple more on the road we'll be in business. This team has potential. They are very young but they are playing for the 'ol master and if they listen he will lead them to victory. We have one of the best PG in the country and a couple of two guards that can light it up from downtown. Watkins and Williams are improving game by game. Dibo was sick but he is very important to our rotation. If Holton is cleared this week he will give us some good minutes untils he plays himself into game shape. Adrian and Noreen are also critical to our success. Last but certainly not least Gary Browne is certified hustler out on the court. Just try to make our fouls shots and learn what a moving screen is and stop the ticky tack fouling and no one can beat you. YOU ARE THAT CLOSE!

  • 5toldU1s

    Ray for chairman of the Rules Committee.
    Way too many timeouts. The coaches can micromanage while everybody sits and waits.

  • cutty77

    One thing that hurts WVU late in games is Adrian,he can't guard anybody. Teams know this,and run plays right at him. Last night he had a Bad Foul,but at least he fouled out. You play defense with your Feet,not your hands in The Big 12.

  • Greg

    Toddrick Gotcher? Isn't that one of the vampires in True Blood?

  • Bross

    It is pretty pathetic that every WVU basketball headline you use has a negative tone to it. I know Allen you are carrying the banner for John and his cronies but try not to be so obvious.

  • Ray

    Great win for WVU. But I must digress. Once upon a time the last two minutes of a close game was as exciting as anything in sports. Today they are so boring as be almost impossible to watch. The ebb and flow of the game has been destroyed by the never ending time outs, the incessant fouling and the occasional trips to the scorers table for replays. Solutions-1. timeout to stop the clock only-no 5 minute trips to the coach. 2. Reinstitute the intentional foul rule, 2 shots plus loss of possesion with referees mandated to enforce the rule. 3. Replays resoved within 30 seconds or the call stands

  • GoEers

    Time to turn our attention to Oklahoma St. on Saturday. I expect 10k or more to rock the Colisieum.

  • john b

    Nice to win two on the road! 5000 plus for that game? The only way there was 5000 people in Lubbock was if they were counting by fives. Huggs talks about our crowds but that crowd last night was the worst I've ever seen for a conference game.

  • steve

    Ever notice that when WVU wins we receive no comments from "Indiana Jones" Larry and "welcome to McDonalds" my name is William?

    • J the C

      Yeah, ain't that strange lol!

    • justin

      youre right. i never noticed. however wvu hasnt won too many football or bball games this year

      • GoEers

        they've played 15 basketball games and won 10....what's your issue?

        • rtdeco

          his issue is deep and related to lack of attention from his mother...he makes up for this perceived slight by crying for attention on these articles...please be gentle with your comments directed his way...he is fragile...

          • stevewvu

            You're correct...I will be more gentle next time.

            thank you