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Late McBride Layup Lifts WVU Over Texas Tech

West Virginia guard Miles McBride (4) is defend by Texas Tech guard Micah Peavy (5) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, in Morgantown, W.Va. (AP Photo/Kathleen Batten)

MORGANTOWN — Miles McBride drove toward the basket, looking to put No. 11 West Virginia in the win column for the second straight game.

As the few seconds remaining began to tick off of the WVU Coliseum’s clocks, the sophomore guard rose toward the hoop, dropping in a layup that gave the Mountaineers a slim – but critical – one-point lead over No. 10 Texas Tech.

The basket gave McBride a team-leading 24 points on the night, and, seconds later, resulted in the Mountaineers emerging with a close 88-87 win over the Red Raiders.

“I knew it was good,” McBride said.

“I didn’t have any hesitation. Honestly, I saw (Texas Tech forward Marcus) Santos-Silva step over, so I was thinking (to) drop it to somebody, but Taz (Sherman) and Jalen (Bridges) told me to get to the rim and finish over contact and finish off the glass. That’s one of the easiest shots, and that’s something I work on. As soon as it left my hand, I knew it was good.”

The score hadn’t always been close. While the Mountaineers opened the game and came across a 10-point lead at one point, things eventually shifted in favor of the Red Raiders.

The Mountaineers were able to open the game by building a strong lead across the game’s first few minutes. Texas Tech entered Monday featuring the Big 12’s top defense, but found it tremendously difficult to prevent West Virginia’s shots from falling.

That is, until West Virginia (11-4) ran out of gas, and the Red Raiders took full advantage of WVU’s miscues.

The Mountaineers experienced a worst case scenario in the final minutes of the first half, going on a nearly four minute scoring drought. West Virginia’s lead, which peaked at 10, dried up, and Texas Tech guard Mac McClung was able to knock down a layup in the final seconds to tie the score at 39 heading into halftime.

Returning for the second half, the two teams traded possession of the lead back and forth before a handful of Mountaineer turnovers allowed Texas Tech to take the lead. At the game’s end, the Red Raiders had scored 25 points off of 12 WVU turnovers, and had only allowed two giveaways of their own.

West Virginia’s scoring woes returned, and as the Mountaineers struggled to knock down shots from the field, Texas Tech built a double-digit lead.

But, as the half went on, West Virginia was able to narrow the gap, trimming the deficit to four at a handful of different times. The Mountaineers eventually climbed to be within one possession away from the lead.

Down three, Sherman was able to bring the score within one with 50 seconds remaining. Following a defensive stop, McBride’s late-game heroics returned the Mountaineers to the locker room with their faces beaming.

“I don’t really look at stats much, but just sitting here in front of me — not only does he score 24 tonight, but he gets seven rebounds,” guard Sean McNeil, who finished with 13 points, said.

“He just makes plays for us. It’s huge, and to have him on the floor is vital for us. He does so much more than just scoring. He handles the ball, he makes plays, he knows how to make the right reads. Deuce is a heck of a player; he’s gonna be really, really good.”

West Virginia will enter its next matchup riding a two-game week streak, the first such occurrence since mid-December. The Mountaineers will host Florida on Saturday as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge, with tipoff coming at 2 p.m.

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