EditorsNote: updates second graf with West Virginia’s next opponent
Freshman forward Emmitt Matthews Jr. scored a career-high 28 points Thursday as West Virginia continued its surprising surge in the Big 12 tournament, stunning No. 7 Texas Tech 79-74 at Kansas City, Mo.
The Mountaineers, seeded 10th after a last-place finish in the regular season, will attempt to reach the tournament final for the fourth straight year after advancing to the semifinals. West Virginia will oppose No. 17 Kansas, the third seed, on Friday.
Sophomore guard Jarrett Culver netted all but five of his 26 points in the second half as the No. 2-seeded Red Raiders roared back with a 22-5 run to take a 69-68 lead with 1:58 left.
Culver, who notched a double-double by adding 10 rebounds, missed a potential game-tying 3-point attempt with 10 seconds left. That proved to be the last chance for Texas Tech (26-6), which saw its nine-game win streak snapped.
West Virginia (14-19), which finished just 4-14 in the Big 12 after losing four key players, sealed its fourth win in six games by going 9 of 9 from the foul line inside the final two minutes. The Mountaineers finished 20 of 22 on free throws after coming in as 68 percent shooters.
A three-point play by junior guard Jermaine Haley with 26.6 seconds left gave West Virginia a 75-71 lead. Culver responded with a three-point play of his own, but the Mountaineers’ Jordan McCabe and Matthews each connected from the line in the final 20 seconds.
Matthews went 10 of 14. McCabe added 13 points and Haley 11.
West Virginia also forged a 44-30 rebounding advantage behind 13 boards from freshman forward Derek Culver.
West Virginia jumped to a 17-point lead in the first half and took a 38-29 margin into the break. Matthews, who played sparingly until late in the Big 12 schedule, secured his career high with 15 points by halftime.
Texas Tech rallied with a run of its own, scoring 11 unanswered points to cap an 18-5 flurry and closed the gap to 33-29.
Matthews, however, ended the half with five points inside the final minute, including a thunderous fast-break dunk resulting in a three-point play with 36.2 seconds remaining.
—Field Level Media