No. 2 Mountaineers Fall At No. 8 Texas Tech

No. 2 Mountaineers Fall At No. 8 Texas Tech

The 15-game winning streak for the No. 2 Mountaineer men’s basketball team came to an end in Lubbock, as No. 8 Texas Tech muscled its way to a 72-71 victory.

The loss was also West Virginia’s first in Big 12 action this season, dropping it to 4-1 in the league and 15-2 overall. Tech improved to 15-2 overall and moved into a four-way tie with WVU atop the Big 12 standings with a 4-1 conference mark. Oklahoma and Kansas, both of which won tight games early Saturday, also are 4-1 in the Big 12

The Red Raiders, who came into Saturday’s game ninth in the Big 12 in free throw percentage making just 69 percent from the line through their first 16 games, used the charity stripe to the fullest extent against WVU. The home club made 24-of-28 foul shots Saturday afternoon to help it to the win in the first-ever matchup of top 10 clubs in the 19-year history of the United Supermarkets Arena.

The loss spoiled the 2017-18 debut of WVU’s Esa Ahmad, who had missed the previous 16 games because of an NCAA-imposed suspension. The junior forward was good in his return, scoring 18 points and grabbing six rebounds while playing 34 minutes. Jevon Carter led West Virginia’s offense with 25 points, but it wasn’t enough to counter Tech’s success from the foul line.

The Red Raiders got 20 points Keenan Evans and 17 more from Brandone Francis

Carter and Ahmad combined for 25 first half points, helping WVU to a 38-31 lead at halftime. West Virginia improved that advantage to 11 early in the second half, but Tech outscored the Mountaineers 36-24 in the final 13 minutes to earn the victory

West Virginia will be back in action Monday night when it hosts No. 12 Kansas (14-3/4-1). The ESPN clash will tipoff at 9 p.m.