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3 takeaways from No. 7 Texas Tech’s loss to No. 14 West Virginia: Mountaineers win the game at the line



Texas – Just over two weeks ago when Texas Tech lost in Morgantown, 89-88, Miles McBride played the role of hero, scoring 24 points and sinking the game-winning basket. When West Virginia needed him most tonight, the reigning Big 12 Player of the Week hit clutch shots again late to help the Mountaineers stay ahead of the Red Raiders.

For Texas Tech, it felt as if the majority of McBride’s six made field goals came against the run of play. For example, the Red Raiders took their first and only lead of the second half at the 8:26 mark thanks to a Mac McClung layup. Twenty-five seconds later, McBride drained a three-pointer to put West Virginia back on top.

Tonight, however, McBride was not a solo act. In fact, he was not even the main act. He was the complement to what Sean McNeil was able to do.

With McBride being on the bench due to foul trouble for most of the first half, McNeil led all scorers with 15 points.

McNeil overall put up 26 points, good for a season-high, on a stellar 8-11 shooting night.

While Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard thought McNeil played well, he also thought his defense could have done a better job preventing him from getting the ball.

“You got to give the player a lot of credit,” Beard said. “He is a really, really good shooter.”

“When the guy is shooting the ball like that, defense isn’t always ‘Let me stop you after you get the ball.’ Defense is ‘Let me not let you catch the ball.’”

Shannon Jr. plays but Texas Tech’s top duo struggled

In Saturday’s 73-62 win over Kansas State, Terrence Shannon Jr. played a season-low 11 minutes, all coming in the second half, due to an injured ankle.

While he was available all night for the Red Raiders against the Mountaineers, the sophomore struggled offensively.

It appeared as if Shannon. was hesitant to shoot jump-shots early in the game, as he came up empty-handed from behind the arc on his first four attempts, including two airballs. Additionally, the Chicago native started 2-12 from the field and committed a team-high four turnovers.

While he was able to hit a big three-pointer late to cut the score to 71-69 with 1:53 left, the absence of his offensive play-making abilities that Tech is accustomed to proved to be costly.

Unlike the Mountaineers who used a scoring duo to pull away, the Red Raiders lacked a secondary go-to scorer all night.

Tech’s top two leading scorers coming into the game, Mac McClung and Shannon, combined for 30 points on 10-30 from the floor. Shannon finished 3-14, 1-7 from behind the arc, for 13 points.

Free throw difference leads to Beard’s early exit

Texas Tech shot 20 free throws. West Virginia nearly doubled them in the category.

Free shots were the difference in the game, with West Virginia going 29-39 from the charity stripe.

Meanwhile, the Red Raiders were able to sink 14 of their 20 attempts, a 15 point discrepancy in makes.

The whistles seemed to have never stopped echoing inside United Supermarkets Arena, with a combined 49 fouls being called – good for one every 49 seconds.

However, it was what happened after the 47th foul call that will be remembered for a while.

With 23 seconds to go, Kevin McCullar was whistled for fouling McBride, who was attempting to call a timeout while laying on the ground holding onto the basketball.

With two timeouts still in his pocket, Chris Beard decided to utilize one to speak his mind to the three-man officiating crew.

After receiving his first technical foul, Beard ran over to the spot where McBride laid during the play and sat on the ground signaling for a timeout, mimicking what McBride did. This warranted a second technical foul, causing Beard to be tossed from the game.

After giving a fist-bump to West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins, Beard walked off the court to a standing ovation.

Beard gave his assessment of the play and his reasoning for drawing the ejection.

“From my point of view, the West Virginia player was calling for a timeout on the floor,” Beard said. “I could see it and hear it from where I was standing. It’s still a two-possession game at that point. If that call is made, we still have a chance to set up our press and have a chance to play the game. That call sent a 90% free throw shooter to the line, and is going to separate the game to a three-possession game.”

“In college basketball, sometimes you got to fight for your players. That was my decision tonight to do that.”