Things have changed since Jan. 6.
With a 77-74 lead in the final minute of regulation, it looked as if the Texas Tech men’s basketball team would pull out its first Big 12 victory of the season that day, but West Virginia guard Terry Henderson thought otherwise when he drained a 3-point goal to send the game into overtime.
From there, the Mountaineers went on to defeat Tech in Lubbock, 89-86.
Since then, West Virginia has lost to Oklahoma State (73-72), Texas (80-69) and Kansas State (78-56).
Tech and West Virginia, both 10-8 and 2-3 in the Big 12, meet again at 7 p.m. CST today in Morgantown, W. Va.
“They’ve struggled lately losing two games at home,” Tech coach Tubby Smith said. “I know they’ll be fired up. I expect since they’ve beaten us once, they feel they can beat us again.”
However, after playing close in the overtime loss, Smith wants the Red Raiders to know they can beat the Mountaineers.
Texas Tech has won back-to-back Big 12 games for the first time since Feb. 2011: upsetting then-No. 12 Baylor 82-72 and beating TCU in Fort Worth, 60-49.
“This group has been through a lot of adversity and three losing seasons,” Smith said. “They’re hungry to improve so they can prove they’re deserving of winning.”
After leading all scorers with 25 points at United Spirit Arena earlier this month, West Virginia junior guard Juwan Staten has scored 20 points or more in three of the last four games and is shooting 64.6 percent from the field in that time frame.
Furthermore, he has scored 14 points or more in 10 consecutive games.
“The first thing we have to do is keep Staten in check,” Smith said. “He’s really a one-man fast break and a one-man wrecking crew. He gave us all kinds of problems (in Lubbock).”
Sophomore guard Eron Harris is still going strong offensively for the Mountaineers, leading his team and ranking third in the Big 12 in scoring at 17.6 points per game.
Henderson, who was 4-of-6 from 3-point range in the first meeting with Tech, is hitting 34.7 percent of his 3s and averages 11.6 points per game.
The Red Raiders also have a balanced scoring attack in senior forward Jaye Crockett with 14.2 points per game, junior forward Jordan Tolbert with 12.1 and junior point guard Robert Turner with 10.1.
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