A Win Is A Win For WVU

West Virginia awoke from its three-game losing streak on Wednesday night, as the Mountaineers defeated Texas Tech 87-81 in a battle of two teams with identical records.

Sophomore guard Terry Henderson scored a career-best 28 points - including 20 in the second half - en route to the victory, which helped lessen the blow from two-consecutive disappointing performances against Texas and Kansas State in the past week. Henderson's strong performance came after scoring just two points against Kansas State on Saturday. While he was 1-of-8 that night, he finished 10-of-13 on Wednesday to lead the Mountaineers to the win.

"I knew I had my shot tonight in warmups. I felt like it was really going to be one of those nights. I came out with confidence and played to the best of my ability," Henderson said. "I tried to make sure I took good shots tonight. If I was open in the swing of the offense, then I was going to shoot it. If not, I was going to pass it. I wasn't going to force it."

The Mountaineers improved to 11-8 overall and 3-3 in the Big 12 Conference. Texas Tech fell to 10-9 and 2-4.

West Virginia, which came into the game allowing opponents to shoot 49.1 percent from the field and was dead last in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage defense, struggled again. The Red Raiders shot 49 percent and a blazing 63 percent from the 3-point line.

It was a battle of shooters between Henderson and Texas Tech sophomore guard Dusty Hannahs, who came into the game averaging 8.1 points per contest. He finished with a career-high 25 points to lead the Red Raiders and hit all seven of his 3-pointers.

"He made some shots that normally you'd say, 'let him shoot that,'" said WVU head coach Bob Huggins. "We didn't guard him. How we don't guard him is beyond me after showing the film we showed ... He had a heck of a game."

After hitting just 8-of-40 threes over the last two games, the Mountaineers were able to find some more consistency beyond the arc. WVU hit 11 threes led by five from Henderson.

Outside of Henderson's big night, three other players scored in double figures. Sophomore guard Eron Harris, who had been struggling to score as of late, hit 5-of-10 shots and finished with 15 points. Junior point guard Juwan Staten had 16 points. Freshman forward Nathan Adrian added 10.

West Virginia continues to win and lose on its 3-point shooting success. WVU is 7-2 when shooting 40 percent or better from three and 0-3 when shooting under 25 percent.

"We just had to get back to the basics and start believing in ourselves again," Staten said.

WVU shot 54 percent for the game.

"Honestly I think we had the same shots as we did against Texas and Kansas State. We just missed those," Huggins said. "That's the problem with relying on jump shots, but we don't really have a choice. If the ball is going in on the perimeter, it's hard to score."

WVU has defeated Texas Tech in both matchups this season and won both regular season games versus the Red Raiders last year. The Mountaineers did lose to them in the Big 12 tournament last March. TT was riding high heading into the contest after two straight wins including a 10-point upset of then No. 12 Baylor.

West Virginia heads out to the Midwest this week when it faces No. 11 Oklahoma State on Saturday and No. 24 Baylor next Tuesday – a crucial stretch for the Mountaineers in the middle of their conference slate. Eight of WVU's next nine games are against ranked opponents.

"We're one game out of second place in the conference, so if we can go get a win on Saturday, we're in second place," Harris said. "There's people who have already wrote us off. We just have to stay positive ... and worry about the team, not the outside factors."

West Virginia jumped out to a double-digit lead with a little more than five minutes gone in the game on a three from Henderson. He had eight of the Mountaineers' first 17 points.

That lead would be quickly erased, as Texas Tech would actually regain the lead through the hot shooting of Hannahs. He would lead the Red Raiders on a 16-0 run to give them a 26-20 lead.

"I hope it's our youth ... But we play pretty good and get up by 11 and then stop playing. We didn't do the things that got us the 11-point lead," Huggins said.

Texas Tech's lead would go slowly, as the Mountaineers would take a 33-32 lead on a free throw. WVU would hold a one-point lead at halftime, as the Red Raiders drained a last-second three.

The Mountaineers, which made their first six threes, finished the half 7-of-11 from beyond the arc. Texas Tech made six of seven.

The Mountaineers scored the first seven points of the second half to take a 47-39 lead and force TT to take a timeout with 18:14 to play.

Two more threes from Hannahs, his fourth and fifth respectively of the night, allowed the Red Raiders to creep within two of West Virginia again.

A 12-6 run gave the Mountaineers a 73-65 lead with 7:13 to play. Henderson had eight of those points, which forced a Texas Tech timeout.

WVU took a 10-point lead with more than six minutes to play and was able to hold on for the victory. The Mountaineers did have to win it at the free-throw line, though, and struggled - once again - to inbound the ball late.

Outside of Hannahs, three other players hit double figures for Texas Tech.

West Virginia was impressive from the line, hitting 18-of-21 attempts. The Mountaineers also had a three-rebound advantage, and that was without freshman forward Devin Williams for long stretches in the second half, as he struggled with foul trouble. Williams had eight points.

A crowd of just 5,031 watched the game at the Coliseum. It was likely less than average due to poor travel conditions and the recent losing streak.

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