Texas Tech has reason to be proud of its modest two-game win streak in Big 12 Conference play, since a close-call loss at West Virginia on Jan. 25.
The teams meet again Tuesday and for the Red Raiders to extend that streak to three certainly would taste a little sweeter than usual.
The seventh-ranked Red Raiders will take on the 14th-ranked Mountaineers in Lubbock, Texas, in a battle of two of the teams near the top of the loaded Big 12. West Virginia is in second place and Texas Tech is in a bottleneck for third behind unbeaten league-leader Baylor.
Texas Tech (14-5, 6-4 Big 12) is on a three-game winning streak overall, with an unlikely come-from-behind win at LSU mixed in. The Red Raiders added to their streak by grinding out a 73-62 victory at Kansas State on Saturday.
While it wasn’t the tidiest of performances for the Red Raiders, they were efficient when it mattered. Texas Tech shot 54.2 percent from the floor in the second half (13 of 24), turned the ball over only 10 times and benefited from 16 bench points in a game when second-leading scorer Terrence Shannon Jr. was limited to two points in 11 minutes with an apparent injury.
Mac McClung had 23 points, bouncing back after he scored only six against Oklahoma. Kevin McCullar had 15 points, six rebounds and four assists and Kyler Edwards had 13 points and eight rebounds. McCullar and Edwards each went 3 of 4 from 3-point range as the Red Raiders were 10 of 20 overall from deep.
Bench players Tyreek Smith, Jamarius Burton, Clarence Nadolny and Chibuzo Agbo combined for 14 points in 44 minutes.
“It was nice to see (Agbo and Nadolny) contribute again,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “I think (Smith) played some good basketball. (Smith) was able to do some things on the defensive end of the floor that weren’t happening when he wasn’t in the game.”
West Virginia got big contributions to log an important 91-79 triumph against No. 23 Kansas on Saturday. It was the first game of a six-game stretch when they will face all ranked opponents.
The Mountaineers (13-5, 6-3 Big 12) never trailed against the Jayhawks. When Kansas charged back and tied the game in the first few minutes of the second half, West Virginia responded.
“We knew they were going to make a run at some point, but we weathered the storm and gave it back to them,” said West Virginia’s Taz Sherman, who produced a career-high 25 points.
Mile McBride also had a career night with 29 points.
“We just wanted to close out the game as best as we can,” Sherman said. “As everybody knows, that’s one of those things we had a problem with (against) other teams, but I feel like we closed out the game well this time.”
That was also the key in the first meeting with the Red Raiders when West Virginia hit its final 10 field-goal attempts in an 88-87 comeback victory, including a McBride jumper with six seconds to go. The Mountaineers defended Texas Tech’s last-gasp effort as McClung missed a leaning mid-range jumper as time expired.
There was solid defense against Kansas on Saturday, despite the high score. The Jayhawks knocked down only 7-of-20 3-point tries and turned the ball over 18 times.
“That was our best defensive performance of the year,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said.
–Field Level Media