Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

February 17, 2013

Mounties nip Tech to get back on winning track

MORGANTOWN — Deniz Kilicli scored a career-high 25 points as West Virginia held off a formidable comeback by Texas Tech for a 66-64 victory Saturday.

A potential game-winning shot by the Red Raiders’ Josh Gray hit the front of the rim at the buzzer.

Gray’s shot came from about 23 feet out after he took the ball inbounds from a teammate three-quarters of the court away.

The Mountaineers (13-12, 6-6 Big 12 Conference) were comfortably ahead 61-53 with 3:19 left, but Texas Tech (9-14, 2-10) made three 3-point shots in a span of 2:45 in an attempt to snap what is now a six-game losing streak.

Kilicli’s point total surpassed his 22-point effort against Providence on Feb. 5, 2012. He was 9 of 11 from the floor after shooting at 50 percent over his previous four games.

Eron Harris had 15 points for West Virginia. It was his ninth double-figures effort since being inserted into the starting lineup by coach Bob Huggins 10 games ago.

Texas Tech had four players in double figures. Sixth-man Jaye Crockett had a double-double (18 points, 10 rebounds) before fouling out. Dusty Hannahs, who was 4 of 8 behind the 3-point stripe, had 12 points, Jamal Williams 11 and Jordan Tolbert 10.

Dejan Kravic and Tolbert also fouled out for the Red Raiders.

It was the third sweep of a Big 12 team in West Virginia’s inaugural season after coming over from the Big East. Earlier, the Mountaineers had knocked off Texas and TCU twice. West Virginia’s six victories have come against the bottom three teams in the 10-team league.

West Virginia seemed to be cruising along, ahead by eight with 3:19 to go.

But Texas Tech interim coach Chris Walker and his Red Raiders had other ideas. Not only had they lost five in a row, but nine of their last 10 games. Eight of the nine setbacks had come by double figures.

Crockett, one of the league’s best sixth men, was 7 of 12 from the floor and hauled down six offensive boards after coming off the bench. His 3-pointer with 2:45 showing made it 61-56.

West Virginia big man Aaric Murray, who has also been coming off the bench even though he is the Mountaineers’ leading scorer (9.3 points per game coming in), contributed an old-fashioned three-point play to give West Virginia another eight-point advantage, but the Red Raiders would not go away.

Gray, who was 1 of 9 from the field, came back with two free throws for Texas Tech, followed by the first of consecutive treys by the freshman Hannahs. With 1:37 left, those points reduced West Virginia’s lead to 64-61.

Kilicli picked up a loose ball in the lane, then battled for the basket to give the Mountaineers a 66-61 advantage with 1:12 to go. But Hannahs clicked again from long range with 46.8 remaining to make it 66-64.

West Virginia’s Juwan Staten seemed to have an open layup at the other end of the floor but missed his shot, and Texas Tech called time out at the 9.5-second mark.

West Virginia shot 48.7 percent from the floor (19 of 39), including 58.8 percent (10 of 17) in the second half. It also owned a 39-29 advantage on the boards. But Texas Tech matched the Mountaineers 12-12 in offensive caroms. The home team also turned the ball over 18 times to Texas Tech’s 13 miscues.

West Virginia was woeful from the free throw line, shooting 58.5 percent (24 of 41). The Mountaineers got to the line 23 more times than the Red Raiders, who cashed 11 of 18 (61.1 percent).

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