|Points Per Game||80.3||75.6|
|Field Goal %||43.6||46.4|
|Rebounds Per Game||38.1||35.9|
|Assists Per Game||15.3||14.4|
|Blocks Per Game||5.2||4.2|
|Steals Per Game||8.2||7.5|
Location: Kansas City, Missouri. Sprint Center
The 18th ranked West Virginia Mountaineers (23-9 12-7) meet the 14th ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders (24-8 12-7) in the semifinals of the Big XII Tournament inside the Sprint Center.
Texas Tech advanced with a win over the Texas Longhorns 73-69 and West Virginia moved on with the win against the Baylor Bears.
It was the first Big XII Tournament win for the Red Raiders since the opening round game versus West Virginia in 2013 and this will be the first Semifinal game for Texas Tech in 13 years (2005).
Texas Tech went to the Big XII Championship game in 2005 and lost to Oklahoma State 72-68. That is their only Big XII Tournament Championship appearance. In the same year, they would later meet the Mountaineers in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in a loss 60-65.
The Mountaineers and the Red Raiders split the first two games in the regular season, both winning on their home court. The Mountaineers lost in the first meeting 72-71 but got their revenge on Senior night in Morgantown 84-74.
Texas Tech starters and how they performed versus West Virginia:
Senior guard Keenan Evans (6’3” 190-lbs) went 6-10 from the field and 8-9 at the free throw line for 20 points in the first meeting and did not play in the second game due to a toe injury. He had 25 points versus the Longhorns.
Freshman guard Zaire Smith (6’5” 195-lbs) averaged 10.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in the two games. In the final four games of the regular season he was averaging 16.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Smith had eight points and five rebounds against Texas.
Freshman guard Jarrett Culver (6’5” 190-lbs) had 4 points in the first game but had a double-double in the second meeting with 26 points and 12 rebounds. He had a double-double versus Texas with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Senior guard Justin Gray (6’6” 210-lbs) had six points in the first match-up and did not play in the second game due to a concussion he received in the previous game against Kansas. Played 20 minutes against Texas and did not score but did collected five rebounds.
Junior Center Norense Odiase (6’9” 245-lbs) had five points and four rebounds in the first meeting but was held scoreless in the second matchup but grabbed six rebounds. He had two points and three rebounds versus Texas.
Coming off the bench
Senior guard Niem Stevenson (6’5” 205-lbs) scored six points in the first game. In the second meeting he went 5-10 from three and had a season high 24 points. He scored 8 points against the Longhorns.
Senior forward Tommy Hamilton (6’11” 250lbs) scored two points and has two rebounds in each game. He put up eight points and collected four rebounds against Texas.
Freshman guard David Moretti (6’3” 165-lbs) averaged four points in the two games. He scored two points versus the Longhorns.
Junior guard Brandone Francis (6’5” 205-lbs) has 17 points in the first game but was held to just three points in-game two. He had four points against Texas.
Senior forward Zach Smith (6’8” 220-lbs) missed both games due to a broken bone in his foot. He is one of their best defenders and has had a slow start since his return in the season finale versus TCU. He played 13 minutes and scored three points and grabbed one rebound.
It was the first game back for West Virginia forward Esa Ahmad after serving his suspension in the first meeting with the Red Raiders. He scored 18 points and scored six points. In the second game, he recorded his second double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Esa led the Mountaineers in the win over Baylor in the quarterfinals with 21 points, eight rebounds and three steals.
West Virginia guard Jevon Carter averaged 24.5 points, 5.0 assists and 2.0 assists against Texas Tech.
Carter has been playing at a high level as of late and he continues to impress with his performance over Baylor in the quarterfinals. He had his fourth double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds, along with six steals setting the tone on the defensive end of the floor.
Guard Daxter Miles Jr didn’t play well in the first game only scoring five points, but he made up for it in the second meeting with 18 points shooting 50% from the field.
Miles went 5-5 from behind the arc against the Bears and had 19 points in the win.
Forward Sagaba Konate averaged 11.5 points and 7.0 rebounds versus the Red Raiders this season. He was in foul trouble in the first game of the Big XII Tournament and only played 18 minutes but grabbed six rebounds and scored two points.
The Mountaineers are going to have to have someone step up to beat Texas Tech in the Semifinals. Guard Beetle Bolden has had the most success, scoring 10 points in the second game versus the Red Raiders.
Forward Lamont West can always get hot from the outside and forward Wesley Harris is capable of having a big game.
West Virginia must do all the fundamentals to knock off the Red Raiders and head to their third straight Big XII Championship game.
They must rebound, play good defense, hit shots, be aggressive and come out with a lot of energy.