West Virginia Capitalizes off of Texas Tech Turnovers in 16-Point Win
The disappointment was palatable from Texas Tech (9-10, 2-6) interim head coach Chris Walker (pictured, left) after the Red Raiders 77-61 loss to the West Virginia Mountaineers on Saturday.
Texas Tech committed 22 turnovers in the loss and was unable to keep West Virginia’s 3-point shooting in check.
Walker said Tech’s problems started at the beginning of the game, “The way we started off the game and digging ourselves in the hole (down 16-4 at one point) and having to come back,” Walker said. “I think with six minutes to go in the game we had it (the deficit) at four. And then we just turned the ball over. Which has been our Achilles’s heel all year long. Which is the Achilles’s heel of most young teams. There just comes a time where we have to mature and get past those tough times; where we just through the ball to the other team and there are turnovers we can’t recover from.”
West Virginia turned the ball over almost as much as Texas Tech, committing 18 turnovers. “We did just such bonehead things,” said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins. “We kinda had the game going the way we wanted the game to go and then we just kept throwing the ball to them. I think we had 10 turnovers with like 14, maybe 12 minutes to go in the first half.”
Ern Harris and Gary Browne both made three 3-pointers each for the Mountaineers as West Virginia went 10/18 from beyond-the-arc. Harris led the Mountaineers in scoring with 18 points. Browne went 3/3 3-point shooting and made two free throws for his 11 points.
In the last 90 seconds of the first half, the Red Raiders whittled an 8 point Mountaineer lead down to 3, going into halftime 34-31.
Throughout the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Red Raiders were down between 5 to 10 points. Tech then cut the West Virginia lead down to four points two separate times in the final 10 minutes of the game. The first occurred at the 9:59 mark. Ty Nurse (pictured, left) made two of his six free throws that made the score 53-49, West Virginia. But two Tech fouls and a turnover allowed the Mountaineers to double their lead to 8 points a minute and-a-half later.
The last time the Red Raiders cut the Mountaineer lead down to four was with 6:27 left in the game. Two consecutive lay-ups by Josh Gray made the score 59-55. But the turnovers reared their ugly head again. Four consecutive turnovers on the Red Raiders next four possessions allowed the Mountaineers to stretch their lead from four to 14 points and win the game. The Mountaineers in their 10-0 run made two 3-pointers.
With the win, West Virginia improved their record to (10-11, 3-5). Huggins (pictured, right) still thinks his team has a chance at making the NCAA Tournament. “Somebody asked me on the (Big 12) teleconference ‘Are you playing to get to the NIT?’. If we can make a run here, because of our strength of schedule; cause we didn’t play all those “ats”, we actually played real people. I think historically the (selection) committee has tried to let teams (that play real schedules) get in. If we get to 17 or 18 (wins), play well in the conference tournament, we’re going to have a chance.
“I mean, that’s what they’re supposed to do. They tell you to play a schedule. They want you to play a schedule. So, we play a schedule. Obviously, we’re a long way away right now. If we can get on a run here, I think we have a chance.”
Nurse the led the Red Raiders in scoring with 14 points. He was one of four Red Raiders to score in double digits. Jaye Crockett had 13 points, and Josh Gray and Jordan Tolbert both scored 10. Dusty Hannahs was limited to 13 minutes of action due to a sore knee.
Texas Tech’s next game is against Kansas State and Walker’s optimistic. “We just got to continue to progress. I think there is progression,” Walker said. “I’m certainly looking forward to Tuesday and I believe if the guys can work the next couple of days, and it’s my job to make sure they have the right energy and enthusiasm, I believe we can beat Kansas State on Tuesday.”