In Lubbock Jan. 6, West Virginia capped a successful Big 12 opening road trip by downing Texas Tech 89-86 in overtime. WVU started Big 12 play with two consecutive wins and all signs pointed in the right direction.
The Red Raiders started Big 12 Conference with two consecutive losses under new head coach Tubby Smith.
Since the matchup earlier this month, West Virginia has dropped three straight games, while Texas Tech has earned two victories inside Big 12 play.
Tonight inside the WVU Coliseum, West Virginia (10-8, 2-3) and head coach Bob Huggins will try to get back on track against Texas Tech (10-8, 2-3).
“Obviously we’d like to win a few here,” Huggins said. “We played very well in the loss against Oklahoma State and had a chance to win the game. Then Texas came in and played very well. The Kansas State game, they just took it to us and we struggled.”
In back-to-back losses to Texas and Kansas State, the Mountaineers have shot just eight of 40, or 20 percent, from beyond the arc. Leading scorer Eron Harris missed all seven of his 3-point attempts against Texas, while Terry Henderson has missed his last seven 3-point shots.
“With our team we have to shoot it well from the perimeter,” Huggins said. “We’ve struggled to shoot the ball the past couple of weeks.”
WVU will lean on the consistent play of point guard Juwan Staten, who registered a double-double against Kansas State Saturday.
Texas Tech is riding a two-game win streak after defeating then-No. 12 Baylor and TCU. With two quality wins, the Red Raiders are a tougher team from when they faced the Mountaineers two weeks ago.
“I think from a confidence standpoint, it’s always better when you can get a win and learn from your mistakes,” Smith said. “To get two wins in the league is a big help.”
Smith said he believes the quick turnaround is attributed to the performance of Rob Turner. The junior guard has scored in double figures in each of his last three games.
“Rob Turner has performed better, he’s making better decisions and he’s hit some shots. I think that has been the difference,” Smith said. “He didn’t shoot the ball well against West Virginia and Texas, but he’s really improved over the past couple of games.”
WVU and Texas Tech tip off at 8 p.m.