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.”


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Comments

  • Ducks In A Row

    Where's all the perpetual balloon deflators today? Great win. Congrat's to Jimbo as well.

  • Jim Crookshanks

    I just love Dusty Hannahs and the other Texas Tech members in their white head bands. They could be in New York with the Rocketts.

    • Vic Damone

      I hear ya Jim.For a good part of the game,I actually thought Hannahs was a girl.

      • Jerry Wilkos

        Agreed guys,he is a pretty little feller ain't he ? Note : the preceeding was meant as lame humor and nothing more.

  • hailey

    A peek into the the final 18 games shows us playing 10 games against ranked teams..I believe this fight to the finish win will pay dividends and will will find away to win 3-4 games against the top competition.

    If Holton steps in and provides us some much needed rebounding we could do more than expected

    • J the C

      Agree on your prediction. However, it's to late to waste a year of eligibility with Holton.

  • bill

    I think Watkins, is going to be a beast as he gets more experience.

    • shawn

      If he'll put on a few pounds like Jones did he'll be an animal on the boards.

    • don

      Great win for this young team. Give Watkins & Williams some experience and we will own the boards. Great things coming for this group.

    • Greg

      If he's only half as good as his Uncle Warren was he'll be a huge contributor.

  • Barrett

    If you are going to have a post season these are must wins. Split on the road and win 70% at home would be a great season. Tough, tough conference schedule coming up so the RPI will sky rocket with some upsets.

  • chad

    Coliseum better be rockin come saturday. Let's Go Mountaineers!!!

  • mark

    God bless my wife, and probably some of your wives too. I was yelling at the tv all evening. Horrible officiating. Huggs had to add the word "perceived" to his comments on all the questionable calls after the game. I guess he could get fined for criticizing the ref's?

  • WVU FAN

    When I was a kid I thought the same way, wanting the game be close so I could be "Mr Clutch" (Jerry West/ I was too young to watch him play but I read his book) as my skills got better, I learned making the other guys work harder on defense was fun, playing head games when I was on defense was a great way to over come letting games be close when they didn't need to be... Save myself for when my opponent really deserved the last second dagger...

    Let's Gooooooooo!!! Mountaineeeeeeers!!!!!

    Good win!!!

  • Matt T.

    If we could have Va Tech and Purdue back WVU would be 12-3 on the cusp of the top 25. Take care of business on Saturday and we could be talking about post season play in the field of 68. I say an 11-7 Big 12 record and two wins in the Big 12 tourney and Huggstown dances!!!! See you Saturday Mo-Town.

  • Low Country Eer

    Great momentum builder especially staying the course under adversity to get a win. Not the only reason, but one thing that helped TT get back in the game was the atrocious referring. A good example was the no call when Staten was on a break-away and Ms. Dusty Hannah was riding him down the court with no call. A few minutes later Staten was called for a very questionable reach-around. Even when the should the play twice they announcers were perplexed.

    I love watching these Mountaineers play and how they are progressing, but I get frustrated with the inconsistencies in the referring.

    Anyway, not to dampen the spirit here and detract from a job well done! Go Mountaineers!

  • Bill

    Winning two league games in a row on the road is terrific. These young Mountaineers are unselfish, smart and driven to win. Smells like an upset brewing for this Saturday at home against Ok State.

  • Rich

    These 2 road wins were big wins, last year's team would have lost both or possibly split. Coming back and winning after Staten's tech and losing the lead are HUGE for this team's growth. Granted TCU & TT probably finish w/ losing records by season's end but no Big 12 game will be easy this year. Now the big ? can we win 7-8 more Big 12 games?

  • john c

    this team is going to be a hard out by the end of the season two huge road wins....if you going to beat huggs you better get him this year you add holton macon and miles to the mix this team is going to contend on the national level in the next couple of years!! mark it down!!

  • JHT

    Huggins knows that he has something special growing with this team. I agree with WVcoal, they are getting better each time out. They just need to finish games better. They was up 11 on TTU. That, hopefully, will get better with time.

  • WVcoal

    Teams grow, improve, and gain valuable confidence when they overcome adversity and win close games -- especially on the road. The Mountaineers are getting a little better each time out. Stay hungry!

    • Joe

      Spot on! Absolutely agree.

    • 4WVUinKY

      Totally agree WVcoal. Anyone who doesn't see the potential in these young men doesn't want to. We won the game...on the road...to a conference foe...what's not to like? Do they need some work? Absolutely! Like dropping back on D and hitting the boards like we own every rebound. Games like this can build character and create the will to win close ones. I'm with ya boys...stay focused and good things will continue to happen.

      • J the C

        Huge advance over last year...Go Eers!