|Points Per Game||75.7||80.3|
|Field Goal %||46.4||43.5|
|Rebounds Per Game||36.0||38.6|
|Assists Per Game||14.7||15.3|
|Blocks Per Game||4.2||5.3|
|Steals Per Game||7.8||8.1|
Tip-Off: 9:00 PM Est
Location: Morgantown, WV. WVU Coliseum
Its Senior Night and the West Virginia Mountaineers (21-8 10-6) host the Texas Tech Red Raiders (22-7 10-6) inside the WVU Coliseum for an ESPN Big Monday prime time game.
Texas Tech has lost three straight games, while the Mountaineers have won back to back games. The Red Raiders are coming off an emotional loss to Kansas on Saturday afternoon 74-72, and with that, their hopes in winning the Big XII regular season title was shattered.
The Mountaineers lost in the first meeting 72-71. This loss was the first in five of the next six games.
West Virginia held an 11-point lead with just under 13 minutes left in the second half and Texas Tech cut it down to one in under three minutes of play with a David Moretti three.
This game started a bad trend in big games for the Mountaineers of having a double-digit lead with around 12 minutes to go in the game and losing in the end. The key phrase around the skid was “effort”.
The effort was on the defensive end and Texas Tech was getting easy baskets around the rim, finishing the game shooting 50% (22-44) from the field.
The lack of energy carried over to the offense where they were not running offensive sets, instead they were settling for jump shots, resulting in 39% (23-59) shooting from the field and not grabbing the offensive rebounds.
After their fifth loss in six games, coming to Iowa State on the road when half of the team was fighting the flu, the team has come together and won five of their last seven games.
Texas Tech is looking to find some answers after losing three straight games and wanting to prove they are still one of the nations top teams by winning in a tough environment.
The Red Raider starters and how they performed in the first meeting against the Mountaineers:
Senior guard Keenan Evans (6’3” 190-lbs) led Texas Tech in scoring, shooting 6-10 from the field and 8-9 from the free throw line for 20 points. He leads the team in points per game (17.2) but has only scored a total of 12 points in the last three games.
Freshman guard Zaire Smith (6’5” 195-lbs) had nine points and eight rebounds. He has averaged 15.4 points the last five games and has increased his total number of points in each game during that span, reaching 20 in the last game (Kansas).
Freshman guard Jarrett Culver (6’5” 190-lbs) played 20 minutes and scored four points. He didn’t start in the first meeting but has started as of late and has averaged 16.5 points in the last two games.
Senior guard Justin Gray (6’6” 210-lbs) had six points in 17 minutes. He is averaging 5.1 points on the year but had a season high 13 points against Baylor a little over a week ago.
Junior Center Norense Odiase (6’9” 245-lbs) played 24 minutes, grabbed four rebounds, scored five points and had four fouls. He has had trouble scoring this year averaging 4.4 points per game.
Coming off the bench:
Senior guard Niem Stevenson (6’5” 205-lbs) started in the first matchup and all six of his points came from the free throw line (6-6). Culver has taken his spot in the starting lineup, but I would not be surprised if he started against West Virginia to change things up during their losing streak. He has only scored in double figures three times during Big XII play and two of those have been in their last four games.
Senior forward Tommy Hamilton (6’11” 250lbs) scored two points and grabbed two rebounds in 15 minutes. He is averaging 6.8 points in the last four games.
Freshman guard David Moretti (6’3” 165-lbs) went 1-3 from three-point range for three points in 14 minutes. He is 1-3 from behind the arc in his last two games and has scored three points.
Junior guard Brandone Francis (6’5” 205-lbs) had 17 points, shooting 5-6 from the field, 3-4 from three-point range and 4-4 from the free throw line. That was his season high and has only scored in double figures twice since then, against Texas the following game and Kansas this past Saturday.
The Mountaineers must play a full 40 minutes. Texas Tech will pack in the paint on defense and force West Virginia to shoot from the outside. One of the reasons West Virginia has had success as of late is finding ways to get the ball inside to forward Sagaba Konate.
Guard Jevon Carter has been continuing to find ways to score. He is driving to the basket and getting good looks around the paint to keep teams from making runs late in the game.
Carter had 28 points in the first meeting. Tech could try to corral him so look for Daxter Miles Jr or Beetle Bolden to make plays.
Forward Esa Ahmad has been working hard on the glass and being aggressive on offense. Wesley Harris and Lamont West need to get back underneath, and help Sags and Esa gather rebounds.
West Virginia will have to get a little creative against the best scoring defense in the Big XII (63.5) and during league play (67.1).
The Mountaineers cannot allow Keenan Evans to drive into the paint. They will need to keep him along the perimeter. They must keep the ball outside and not let them create opportunities around the rim. Texas Tech is not a good jump shooting team and only shoot 35.5% from behind the arc.
It’s Senior Night for Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr. It’s the last time these two will step foot inside the Coliseum wearing the Old Gold and Blue. I expect it to be an emotional night for the two of them and will leave it all out on the floor to get the win in their final home game.
Miles and Carter have given fans a lot of memories over their historic careers and I expect them to give the crowd one more memory.