Keenan Evans finished with 20 points, hitting a number of critical jumpers down the stretch, as No. 8 Texas Tech erased an 11-point second half deficit to knock off No. 2 West Virginia, 72-71, and keep pace atop the Big 12 standings.
The loss was West Virginia’s first in Big 12 play, dropping them into a four-way tie for first-place in the league with the Red Raiders, No. 9 Oklahoma and No. 12 Kansas, and it’s probably worth noting here that the only one of those four teams that have lost at home in league play is Kansas; they were worked over in Allen Fieldhouse by Chris Beard and Texas Tech.
Given the other struggles that Kansas has had at home this year – they lost to Arizona State in Allen Fieldhouse, they lost to Washington in Kansas City, they barely held on to beat both Kansas State and Iowa State in Lawrence – at this point it is probably relatively safe to say that one of West Virginia, Texas Tech or Oklahoma is the favorite to win the Big 12 regular season title, and that’s what made Saturday’s win so important.
For that to happen, Texas Tech cannot lose games at home simply because that may be what ends up determining the league champ.
Beyond that, I’m really not sure there is all that much to add about this game.
It was as physical as we expected it to be. Texas Tech and West Virginia both defend in similar ways. They are tough, they are aggressive and they probably could be called for a half-dozen more fouls every night than they are called for. And when they played each other, the game looked more like a rugby match than a college basketball game.
Jevon Carter finished with 28 points for the Mountaineers, and Esa Ahmad returned from his suspension to score 18 points in his season-opener. The rest of the team, however, struggled. Combined, every other Mountaineers scored 25 points on 7-for-25 shooting.
If you’re looking fro more reading on Tech, here is a profile of their head coach Chris Beard, who, after being fired by Tech in 2011, spent a year coaching an ABA expansion team. Look where he is now.