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West Virginia stuns No. 7 Texas Tech in Big 12 quarterfinal

Blair Kerkhoff, The Kansas City Star on

Published in Basketball

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- West Virginia played less like a team that finished last in the Big 12 and more like the one that reached the Big 12 tournament title game the previous three years.

Who knows? Another effort like the one on Friday in their stunning 79-74 triumph over seventh-ranked Texas Tech, and the Mountaineers could make it four straight.

The upset stands with the biggest in Big 12 tourney history. It marked the third time a No. 10 seed beat a No. 2 seed, and the previous occasions were in the first two years of the event.

West Virginia held on to complete the victory. The Mountaineers led by 16 with about 81/2 minutes remaining. But Tech rallied and took the lead with two minutes left.

The teams traded big moments on the final possessions. A three-point play by Jermaine Haley with 27 seconds left gave West Virginia a 75-71 lead. Tech's Jarrett Culver answered with his own three-point play 4 seconds later.

Jordan McCabe's two free throws with 19.5 seconds remaining restored a 77-74 lead, and Culver, the Big 12 player of the year, missed a deep 3-point attempt that sealed the upset.

West Virginia (14-19) will meet the Kansas-Texas winner in a semifinal game that will tip around 8:30 p.m. Friday.

The Mountaineers set the early tone, playing to their strength, defense and rebounding. They challenged every shot, forced several bad ones, and when shots missed, West Virginia went hard to the boards.

The rebounding advantage at different points: 12-3, 19-4 and 22-5, and the half finished with a 26-11 edge.

 

The West Virginia lead peaked at 28-11 when Deshawn Corprew's layup ended Tech's five minute drought and started a reversal of fortune.

The Red Raiders (26-6) started digging in on the defensive end and shots started falling. They used an 11-0 run to slice the margin to 33-29, but West Virginia scored the final five points of the half, a mini-run that finished with a flying slam by Emmitt Matthews Jr., who hit the free throw to complete the three-point play.

West Virginia, which defeated Oklahoma in the first round on Wednesday, didn't play like a team playing its second game in less than 24 hours. The Mountaineers were the more energetic team.

Culver, who was recognized for winning Big 12 Player of the Year in a brief pregame ceremony, led Tech with 26 points. But he worked hard for his production, and West Virginia did a superb job shutting down the rest of the Red Raiders.

(c)2019 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)

Visit The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.) at www.kansascity.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

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