Seniors shine for No. 20 West Virginia against No. 12 Texas Tech
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Jevon Carter scored 21 points, and Daxter Miles Jr. added 18 in their final home game, and No. 20 West Virginia rode a hot start to an 84-74 victory over No. 12 Texas Tech on Monday night.
West Virginia (22-8, 11-6 Big 12) broke a second-place tie with the Red Raiders (22-8, 10-7) and moved closer to earning the No. 2 seed in the Big 12 tournament with one game left.
Sagaba Konate added 16 points. Esa Ahmad had 11 points and 11 rebounds, and James Bolden scored 10 for the Mountaineers, who have won three in a row.
Freshman guard Jarrett Culver scored 26 points. Niem Stevenson added 24, and Zhaire Smith scored 12 for Texas Tech, which lost its fourth consecutive game. The Red Raiders were without injured starters Justin Gray, Keenan Evans and Zach Smith.
West Virginia busted out to a 16-0 lead with Carter scoring seven points and Miles hitting a 3-pointer and feeding Ahmad for a pair of dunks.
The Mountaineers have blown several double-digit leads in losses this season, including in a 72-71 setback at Texas Tech, and a hush came over the crowd when Brandone Francis' 3-pointer brought the Red Raiders within seven early in the second half.
Despite the solid play of Stevenson, Smith and Culver, the short-handed Red Raiders couldn't keep up with West Virginia's 10-player rotation.
Lamont West and Bolden made 3-pointers and Bolden followed with two free throws to push the lead to 52-38, and it stayed in double digits the rest of the game.
The Red Raiders shot 1 for 11 from the floor over the first seven minutes and were desperate to catch up after that. They went 23 of 44 (52 percent) the rest of the game.
The Mountaineers made just 16 of 27 free throws (59 percent), a stat they'll need to improve on if they hope to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.