Kilicli scores 25, West Virginia holds on to beat Red Raiders
Published: Monday, February 18, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 18, 2013 00:02
After beating Texas Tech by 16 on the road two weeks earlier, many assumed West Virginia would accomplish something similar at home Saturday afternoon – especially after racing out to a 10-point lead late in the first half.
But it was a late defensive stop and a career-high 25 points from senior forward Deniz Kilicli that pushed the Mountaineers (13-12, 6-6) past the Red Raiders (9-14, 2-10) 66-64 in front of 10,530 at the WVU Coliseum.
Kilicli connected on 9 of 11 shot attempts and helped foul out two members of Texas Tech’s frontcourt on his way to one of his most impressive games of his career.
"It happens sometimes," Kilicli said. "They didn’t guard me the way other teams guarded me … I just went out there and tried to do what I did in practice."
The Mountaineers were able to hold off a late push by the Raiders despite 18 turnovers and 17 missed free throws.
"The truth of the matter is, if you go 24 for 41 from the foul line and turn it over 18 times and still win, it is pretty remarkable," said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins. "Obviously, Deniz (Kilicli) played very well. I think if we could pass the ball better, I think he could have gotten 40 … I think he was open quite a few more times."
Freshman guard Eron Harris scored 15 points – his ninth game in double digits in his last 10 outings – 10 of which came in the second half.
Harris didn’t get frustrated by the slow start, a character trait of the true freshman his head coach hasn’t overlooked.
"The good thing about Eron is he’s not one of those guys that pouts," Huggins said. "He just keeps playing."
The Mountaineers took a 32-25 lead into the locker room and had multiple opportunities to pull away in the second half – much like they did in the first matchup between the two schools in Lubbock, Texas.
But turnovers and mental lapses prevented West Virginia from putting away its opponent.
"We take plays off. We get a little run going, and because we don’t play every play, they take advantage of you," Huggins said. "People at this level are too good not to play every play."
Freshman guard Terry Henderson scored 8 points on 2 of 3 shooting. The freshmen duo of Henderson and Harris is beginning to become explosive on the offensive end.
"I’d love to play them (at the same time). They just have to do a better job defensively, and they have to pass the ball better," Huggins said. "If you noticed, Deniz didn’t get the ball a lot when they were in the game together. Deniz has got to get the ball."
Dusty Hannahs led the Red Raiders with 12 points on three 3-pointers, but Texas Tech shot just 41 percent from the field.