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West Virginia beats No. 7 Texas Tech 79-74 in Big 12 tourney

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Emmitt Matthews scored a career-high 28 points as 10th-seeded West Virginia upset No. 7 Texas Tech 79-74 in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament on Thursday night.

West Virginia (14-19) advances to the semifinals, against either No. 17 Kansas or Texas, on Friday night.

Jarrett Culver scored 26 points, Tariq Owens had 14, and Matt Mooney had 12 for Texas Tech (26-6).

Matthews hit a corner 3 to give West Virginia a 16-point lead with nine minutes to go, but Texas Tech scored 16 of the next 18 to get within four.

The Red Raiders took a 69-68 lead on a basket by Culver, their first lead since it was 7-5. But the Mountaineers scored seven of the next nine to regain the lead, 75-71.

Culver missed a 3 with 20 seconds left and Tech trailing 77-74, and Matthews sealed the victory with two free throws.

The Red Raiders, one of the hottest teams in the country entering the game, were outrebounded 44-30.

The Mountaineers went on an 11-2 run early and led by 10 just eight minutes into the game.

The Red Raiders, co-regular season champs, trailed 28-11 in the first half before switching to a zone defense and thwarting the Mountaineer offense as they began to mount a rally.

BIG PICTURE

West Virginia: Mountaineers live to see another day and sit two wins from a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Texas Tech: The loss hurts the resume and is the worst of the year for the Red Raiders. It was also their first defeat since a Feb. 2 loss at Kansas.

UP NEXT

The Mountaineers will take on the winner of Kansas and Texas on Friday night.

Texas Tech will find out its NCAA Tournament berth on Sunday.

No. 23 Kansas State beats West Virginia to keep Big 12 lead

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Barry Brown scored 21 points and No. 23 Kansas State beat West Virginia 65-51 on Monday night to remain atop the Big 12 standings.

A 14-0 run midway through the second half, led by a couple of 3-pointers by Xavier Sneed, gave the Wildcats (20-6, 10-3) their fifth straight conference road win.

After shooting poorly in the first half and only holding a two-point lead, Kansas State kept the Mountaineers (10-16, 2-10) at bay with 50 percent shooting in the final 20 minutes.

Sneed added 19 points for Kansas State, including five 3-pointers. Dean Wade, who was questionable going into the game, scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds.

Lamont West led West Virginia with 16 points. Derek Culver picked up his sixth double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Brandon Knapper scored 10 points.

The Mountaineers outrebounded the Wildcats 35-31.

BIG PICTURE

Kansas State: The Wildcats remain on top of the Big 12 by bouncing back after their 78-64 loss to then-No. 23 Iowa State on Saturday. No. 12 Kansas and No. 14 Texas Tech remain one game back at 9-4. The Jayhawks and Red Raiders play each other on Saturday in Lubbock, Texas.

West Virginia: Considering the recent depletion of their roster, the Mountaineers put up a pretty good fight against the stout Wildcats, not caving until midway through the second half. With Oklahoma State’s win over TCU on Monday, WVU sits alone at the bottom of the Big 12.

UP NEXT

Kansas State returns home to host Oklahoma State on Saturday.

West Virginia heads to Waco to play Baylor on Saturday.

Dotson, Lawson brothers lead No. 14 Kansas’ rout of WVU

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — Devon Dotson and K.J. Lawson each scored 15 points, and No. 14 Kansas beat depleted West Virginia 78-53 on Saturday.

Dedric Lawson, K.J.’s brother, had 14 points for the Jayhawks (20-6, 9-4 Big 12), who won their third straight as they continue to start four freshmen.

Lamont West and Chase Harler scored 11 points apiece for West Virginia (10-15, 2-10), which struggled without former starters Esa Ahmed and Wesley Harris, who were dismissed from the team earlier in the week for violating athletic department policies. Ahmed was averaging 12 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, while Harris was putting up 7.9 points and 4.5 rebounds.

Kansas held West Virginia to a season-low 16 points at halftime, and the Mountaineers shot 33.9 percent for the game, including 3 of 23 from 3-point range. West Virginia didn’t reach double-digit scoring until 5:52 remained in the first half.

The Mountaineers finished with 24 turnovers. In West Virginia’s 65-64 win over Kansas in Morgantown on Jan. 19, the Mountaineers turned it over just 13 times.

The Jayhawks got the crowd excited with several flashy plays in the second half, including a fierce one-handed dunk by Ochai Agbaji. Fans at Allen Fieldhouse were also pleased to learn of No. 18 Kansas State’s 78-64 loss to No. 23 Iowa State as Kansas cruised through the final minutes.

BIG PICTURE

West Virginia: The Mountaineers sit last in the Big 12 standings. West Virginia has not finished conference play outside the top five since 2014, when it ended the season in seventh place.

Kansas: The Jayhawks remain in contention for the Big 12 title. After Kansas State’s loss to Iowa State, Kansas lurks a half-game behind the Wildcats, tied with No. 15 Texas Tech. The Sunflower Showdown in Allen Fieldhouse on Feb. 25 could end up deciding the conference championship.

West Virginia dismisses Esa Ahmad, Wesley Harris

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It’s probably fair to call this the season from hell for West Virginia.

The Mountaineers are 10-14 overall and in last place in the Big 12 with a 2-9 record that includes a 31-point losses to TCU and Texas Tech, a a 22-point loss to Texas and a 25-point loss to Iowa State that prompted coach Bob Huggins to admit that he was “miserable” and that the Mountaineers “suck.”

With all that, West Virginia seemed to descend to a lower circle Monday.

Esa Ahmad and Wesley Harris, both starters who have had off-court issues in the past, were dismissed from the program “for a violation of athletic department policies,” the school announced.

So unless dropping two guys who averaged a combined 20 points and 10 rebounds per game is somehow going to be a case of addition by subtraction, West Virginia’s already horrible season looks to be on a path to get worse.

Ahmad, a senior and former four-star recruit, was ineligible for the first half of last season due to an academic issue while Harris, a junior, was reprimanded for throwing a punch at a fan at Texas Tech last year and then was later charged with battery for a separate incident in which he allegedly punched a man during a traffic dispute.

The Mountaineers, who have played without injured star Sagaba Konate almost all season, are going to learn in a hurry what their newly-depleted roster is going to be up against the rest of the season as they head to Lawrence to face 14-time defending Big 12 champ Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday.

Perhaps the only silver lining for Huggins and the Mountaineers is the last time they bottomed out like this, going 13-18 overall and 6-12 in the Big 12 in 2013, Huggins reinvented his program with the full-court defensive strategy that allowed ‘Press Virginia’ to thrive from 2014 until now. This type of season could be a catalyst for something similar. Or at least Huggins has to hope so.

 

WATCH: West Virginia player ejected for tripping player from bench

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At least Grayson Allen was actually playing when he tripped people.

Early in the second half of No. 17 Texas Tech’s 81-50 win over West Virginia, West Virginia forward Logan Routt was ejected after he tripped Tech guard Matt Mooney while sitting on the bench.

Mooney tried to block a three-pointer that was shot from the corner and ended up in the West Virginia bench. As he tried to get back on the floor to continue playing, Routt used his legs to hold one of Mooney’s legs, tripping him and, after a review, getting hit with a Flagrant 2 and ejected from the game.

“I didn’t see it personally. Two of our coaches did. The refs did a good job of finding the play,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said.

No. 18 Texas Tech routs cold-shooting West Virginia 81-50

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LUBBOCK, Texas — Brandone Francis scored a season-high 16 points and No. 18 Texas Tech overwhelmed cold-shooting West Virginia 81-50 on Monday night.

The Red Raiders (18-5, 6-4 Big 12), who lost four of their previous five Big 12 games, took control with a 13-0 run midway through the first half. That was part of a longer stretch during which the Mountaineers missed 11 consecutive shots during a span of more than 15 minutes.

West Virginia (10-13, 2-8) finished with only nine made field goals, the fewest ever for a Big 12 team and matching North Carolina State’s total in a 47-24 loss to Virginia Tech on Saturday for the fewest by any team in a game this season. The Mountaineers were 9-of-39 (23 percent) shooting overall, and made 29 free throws.

Freshman Derek Culver had 15 free throws among his 23 points for WVU.

That early scoring spurt put the Red Raiders ahead for the first time — and to stay. After Matt Mooney’s two free throws tied the game at 14-all, Norense Odiase had a putback slam. Odiase first grabbed an offensive rebound between three defenders, passed outside and was still underneath for another rebound on a miss by Francis.

Texas Tech had a double-digit lead for good after Francis had a backcourt steal, drove and cut between two leaping defenders while switching the ball to his right hand and making a layup while falling away from the basket. Jarrett Culver got the next points when he swished a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to make it 32-18.

Culver finished with 12 points, while Davide Moretti had 11 and Deshawn Corprew 10. Odiase had nine points and 10 rebounds.

BIG PICTURE

West Virginia: The Mountaineers were coming off a home win over Oklahoma, but lost their third road game in 10 days. This matched their worst Big 12 loss since joining the league seven years ago. They also had a 31-point loss (98-67) at TCU last month.

Texas Tech: After dropping two more spots in the new AP poll earlier Monday — they had been No. 8 in the poll three weeks ago — the Red Raiders got a big Monday win for the second week in a row, with a loss at No. 13 Kansas in between. Tech shot 53 percent from the field (30 of 57), even while missing its last eight shots and not scoring in the final 5 minutes.

TRIPPED OUT

West Virginia junior forward Logan Routt was ejected from the game early in the second half while sitting on the bench. Officials looked at replay to determine that Routt intentionally tripped Mooney when he was trying to get back on the court after trying to block a shot near the WVU sideline. Routt never got in the game.

UP NEXT

West Virginia returns home to play Texas on Saturday. The Mountaineers then have a week off before going to Kansas, which lost at West Virginia on Jan. 19.

Texas Tech plays at Oklahoma on Saturday.

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25