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January 6, 2014

WVU outlasts Texas Tech in OT




West Virginia (10-5, 2-0) led for most of the game but had to get a late three-pointer from Terry Henderson to send the game to overtime and a final stop on the last possession to win its second conference road game in a row 89-86 Monday night over Texas Tech.

The Mountaineers had four players in double figures led by Juwan Staten with 25 points, Eron Harris with 18 points, Henderson with 16 points and Devin Williams with 12 points. West Virginia shot 55 percent from the field but was in a battle for most of the second half because the Red Raiders hit 22-26 of their free throw attempts as well as the Mountaineers allowing Texas Tech to shoot 48 percent from the floor.

Texas Tech opened the scoring with a three-pointer from Jaye Crockett to give the Red Raiders an early advantage as the Mountaineers struggled to find their footing in the opening couple minutes of the first half. After another basket, West Virginia would get on the board with an impressive strong move to the basket by Devin Williams through contact, where he would hit the ensuing free throw. After forcing a turnover on the next possession, Brandon Watkins would tie the game up at five in the early going.

Terry Henderson would give the Mountaineers their first lead of the game on a three-pointer and would extend that advantage with another three-pointer and a layup to cap off eight straight for the sophomore and put the score at 13-9 five minutes into the game.

The Mountaineers started the game hot shooting almost 55 percent from the field in their first 11 attempts and after an Eron Harris three-ball West Virginia took a 20-14 advantage at the 11-minute mark. Gary Browne would continue the hot shooting with Gary Browne three to give the Mountaineers a 25-18 lead, their largest of the first half but Texas Tech would storm back with two consecutive layups from Jamal Williams Jr.

West Virginia's lead would see-saw between five and three throughout the course of the next several minutes, as the Mountaineers would push it out to seven at 35-28 late in the first half before taking the biggest lead of the half at nine points with just over a minute left before they head to the break.

But that lead would settle at 39-33 after the Red Raiders hit a three right before the end of the first half with the Mountaineers shooting nearly 49 percent from the floor, including 40 percent (4-10) from three point range. Staten and Henderson led the Mountaineers in scoring at the break with 11 and 10 points respectively, while Devin Williams chipped in with 6 points.

West Virginia would start the second half with two more fast break points giving the Mountaineers an 11-2 advantage on the score board when a turnover led to another Staten layup and a 41-33 lead. That lead would be extended to 11 after a deep three by Eron Harris, but a traditional three point play by the Red Raiders put the advantage back at 44-36.

West Virginia would push the lead back out to ten points but seven straight points from Dusty Hannahs cut the advantage to 48-45 while Crockett sat on the bench with three fouls. However, a three pointer by Henderson ended the rally and gave the Mountaineers some breathing room but on the other end Hannahs struck again with another three-pointer to bring the lead back to only three points.

The lead would be whittled down to one point before Harris would drive and draw a goaltending call then the subsequent free throw put the lead back to a more comfortable 56-52 lead and Harris would get loose again and find a wide open Kevin Noreen under the basket for an easy layup.
The Red Raiders would continue to battle away after a timeout to cut the lead back to only a point and on the other end Staten would hit a shot as the clock to push the lead back out.

The two teams would trade buckets for several possessions, until a Browne free throw broke the cycle and off an in-bounds play Harris connected from deep again to put the lead at five. Crockett would answer with a three of his own and after a Staten layup he was called for a technical foul that would lead to two free throws and another Crockett basket to tie the game at 68-all.

Texas Tech would capture the lead after another Crockett basket and free throw put the Red Raiders ahead 71-68, but Staten would answer with a jumper of his own to cut the Red Raiders advantage to one point. The Red Raiders would add a free throw and a layup by Devin Williams and missed free throw leading to a Brandon Watkins layup put the Mountaineers back out front 74-72.
West Virginia would relinquish the lead on a pass to a cutting Tolbert for a layup to put the Red Raiders up 75-74 and after a scramble the in-bounds play to Watkins clanked off the rim and led to two more successful free throw attempts to put the lead at 77-74 Red Raiders.

On the ensuing possession, the play was designed for Harris with a flare screen, but it was covered so the ball went to Henderson for the game-tying three pointer to notch the game at 77-all and that's where it would stay after the Red Raiders couldn't score on the game's last possession.

Williams would put the first points on the board for West Virginia in the overtime period on a free throw and then Nathan Adrian got a steal layup to give the Mountaineers an 80-77 lead. The overtime period would go back and forth, with the Red Raiders getting within a point on a number of occasions.

With the score 85-83 West Virginia took a timeout with 45 seconds left and with two on the shot clock, Staten drew a foul at the top of the key. The Mountaineers made things interesting down the stretch with missed free throws and theatrics leading to several reviews including one that reversed the possession of the ball to West Virginia, but would hold on the final game tying attempt and secure the win.


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