MORGANTOWN - Deniz Kilicli scores a career-high as he leads the Mountaineers to a 66-64 victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
West Virginia (13-12, 6-6) has now defeated Texas Tech (9-14, 2-10) twice this season. The first time came just two weeks ago in a 77-61 battle in Texas.
"We go 24-for-41 from the foul line and have 18 turnovers and still win," said head coach Bob Huggins. "It's really pretty remarkable."
The victory didn't come without a battle, this one came right down to the wire. The Mountaineers held a lead for the majority of the game, but Texas Tech stuck around and haunted West Virginia right up to the final seconds.
As the clock ticked to zero, the Red Raiders launched a three-point shot from deep. The buzzer sounded as the ball hit the front tip of the rim and bounced away. West Virginia had sealed the deal.
Kilicli finished with a career-high 25 points. He set the mark of 22 last season against Providence, and his season high before tonight was 21 against Marshall. Kilicli also led the team with eight rebounds as he was only on the bench for two minutes.
"It happens sometimes," said Kilicli. "It was my instincts. Just went out there and tried to do what I do in practice."
The game tested each teams will as leads were exchanged several times. The Mountaineers' biggest lead was 10 near the end of the first half. Tech would battle back to take a lead early on in the second.
Turnovers and personal fouls would be two key stat lines in this one. The Mountaineers did suffer from 18 turnovers, and TTU capitalized with 25 points from them.
The two teams combined for 48 personal fouls throughout the game. It was a bigger problem for the Red Raiders as three players fouled out of the game.
The bright spot for TTU was Jaye Crockett, the team's leading scorer. He was electric on the floor using spot up jumpers and a couple dunks on his way to a double-double with 18 points and ten rebounds.
Other than Kilicli, freshman Eron Harris continued his impressive play. The Indiana native scored in double-figures, he has done so in nine of the last ten games.
Each team played a slow-tempo game as fast break points were rare. In fact, West Virginia had just two fast break points while TTU had zero.
Gary Browne played 26 minutes, but finished with just five points which all came from the foul line. However, his head coach knows Browne is one of the vital players on the team.
"Gary Browne is our best defender," said Huggins. "And he's been doing the best job of getting Deniz the ball."
Texas Tech has now dropped 10 of their last 11 games, and continue to sit just one game ahead of last place TCU in the Big 12 Conference.
The Mountaineers will head to Kansas State in the next couple days for their second matchup against the Wildcats. Their first contest concluded in a controversial ending as West Virginia lost by just one, with a final score of 65-64.