With No. 7 West Virginia on the cusp of replicating another clutch finish at Texas Tech, Anthony Livingston got loose in the corner and flipped the script.
The graduate transfer from Arkansas State sank a 3-pointer with 4.6 seconds in overtime, propelling the Red Raiders to a 77-76 upset that snapped West Virginia’s four-year win streak in Lubbock.
Zach Smith finished with 15 points and seven rebounds for Texas Tech (12-2, 1-1), but Livingston’s 12-point game proved the difference, capped by his decisive 3 after the defense collapsed on Niem Stevenson’s drive-and-kick.
“We give their best perimeter shooter a 3 when we’re up by two, and he makes it,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins.
After stealing three close games in previous trips at United Supermarket Arena, the Mountaineers (12-2, 1-1) erased a five-point deficit in the final minute of regulation and squared the score at 67-all on Nathan Adrian’s 3-pointer with 7 seconds left.
With 33 seconds remaining in overtime, Tarik Phillip’s straight-on 3 put West Virginia ahead 76-74. That set up Texas Tech’s make-or-break possession that culminated in the big shot by Livingston’s big shot, who, coincidentally, had bitten on Adrian’s pump-fake while allowing the 3 that forced overtime.
“I thought we had it won in regulation, but I’m so proud our guys for coming back in overtime and finding a way to win,” said Texas Tech coach Chris Beard, whose first season in Lubbock seems to be picking up right where Tubby Smith left off.
Beard projected his team could commit fewer than 10 turnovers — ambitious, considering “Press Virginia” came in forcing 26 per game — and the Red Raiders nearly hit the mark, turning it over only 13 times.
While Huggins lauded Texas Tech for spacing the floor and keeping its cool, he blistered his own defenders for not executing the kind of pressure that crushed Oklahoma State in Friday’s conference opener.
“When you let guys go where they’re supposed to go, when you don’t make the floor smaller, you don’t get off to help, you don’t do the things we preach about every day — it’s been slipping,” Huggins said. “I’m incredibly frustrated at this point because we’re better than that.”
Despite allowing Texas Tech to shoot 51 percent from the floor, West Virginia might have escaped again if not for 6-of-12 foul shooting in the extra period and making only 13-of-24 overall.
“When you get to the line 12 times in overtime, you should win,” Huggins said. “Quite frankly, you should win.”
Esa Ahmad had a team-high 13 points but didn’t score again after his jumper put WVU ahead 37-34 seconds before halftime. Carter finished with 11 points, six assists, four steals and only one turnover, while Adrian and Lamont West scored 10 each.
The Mountaineers, who had swept Texas Tech in the regular-season series four straight years since joining the Big 12, committed 14 turnovers and lost just a day after surfacing in the top 10. The loss stung a little more considering that only minutes before, No. 3 Kansas pulled out a controversial 90-88 win over Kansas State.