Eighth-ranked Texas Tech ended the longest winning streak in the country and created a four-way tie atop the Big 12 Conference on Saturday.
Niem Stevenson’s free throws with 2:06 left snapped a 65-65 tie and Keenan Evans’ leaning jumper in the final minute sealed a 72-71 victory over No. 2 West Virginia at United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock, Texas.
Both teams are 15-2 overall and 4-1 in the conference, but it’s the Red Raiders that came away with a result that could boost them further up the new rankings on Monday. They overcame an 11-point second-half deficit by converting 24-of-28 foul shots and committing only 13 turnovers against the Mountaineers’ withering pressure defense.
Evans scored 20 points to lead Texas Tech, while Brandone Francis came off the bench to add 17, far above his 4.8 points per game average. Francis hit 5 of 6 shots from the floor and 3-of-4 from the 3-point line.
Jevon Carter poured in a game-high 28 points for West Virginia, which had won 15 straight games dating back to a season-opening defeat against Texas A&M in Germany. Esa Ahmad, playing his first game of the season after becoming academically eligible, chipped in 18 points in a reserve role.
Carter sank a 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds remaining to draw the Mountaineers within a point, but the Red Raiders inbounded the ball and ran out the clock.
West Virginia controlled most of the first half behind its pressing defense and 3-point shooting. The Mountaineers raced out to a 15-6 lead, with Ahmad finishing a 10-0 spurt by sinking an 11-foot jumper at the 14:39 mark.
Texas Tech responded with a 12-2 run to grab an 18-17 lead with 8:13 remaining in the half when Zhaire Smith converted a three-point play. The game went back and forth for about the next 5 1/2 minutes until West Virginia made another run to end the half.
Carter drained a long 3 to start a 10-2 spurt and then ended it by drilling a 14-footer with seven seconds left, pushing the Mountaineers to a 38-31 advantage at the half.
--Field Level Media