Big 12 tournament bracket: West Virginia upsets No. 7 Texas Tech

Ruben Hill
March 15, 2019

The Mountaineers will face the victor of the No. 3 seed Kansas/No. 6 seed Texas matchup tomorrow at 9 p.m. ET with a spot in the Big 12 Tournament Championship game on the line.

The Big 12 Tournament kicks off Wednesday with four teams: TCU, Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Oklahoma. "He was great. He's really picked up his role and a lot of confidence and he's been one of our best players over the last few games". There was even a four-game stretch in which West Virginia failed to break 53 points, including an embarrassing 81-50 blowout at the hands of Texas Tech in Lubbock on February 4.

The final moment saw Matthews guarding Jarrett Culver, like he had for most of the game, and while Culver got hot late to finish with 26 points and 10 rebounds, his 3-point attempt with 8.8 seconds left hit off the back of the rim and fell right into Matthews' hands for his eighth rebound of the game. A 17-2 WVU run midway through the opening period lifted it to a 28-11 lead over the seventh-ranked team in the country.

Matthews, though, closed the first half with five straight points including another three-point play to put the Mountaineers ahead by a score of 38-29 at halftime.

Freshman forward Emmitt Matthews was WVU's biggest offensive force in the first half.

West Virginia went from cellar to Cinderella on Thursday. "What he did tonight, we always knew he had that ability".

Texas Tech certainly had a run left.

Despite a disappointing season, West Virginia's winning ways in Kansas City continued. Jarrett Culver missed three of four shots in the last four possessions of the game to seal Tech's fate but it is hard to fault the Big 12 Player of the Year because he was forced to carry his team all night as his usually running mates struggled.

West Virginia wasn't going away quietly either, though. And though forward Derek Culver had just six points, he pulled down 13 big rebounds and drew a key whistle in the final minute to give Texas Tech forward Tariq Owens his fifth foul of the game.

West Virginia dominated the offensive glass for 19 rebounds, which helped swing the game despite the fact that Texas Tech shot 45.6 percent from the field while WVU shot only 38.8 percent. The Mountaineers scored 17 second-chance points.

But West Virginia was ready for No. 7/6 Tech after losing to the Red Raiders twice in conference play.

But credit must go to Bob Huggins' team, which played like a team that desperately wanted to win while Chris Beard's team played like a team that believed it deserved to win.

A basket from Jarrett Culver cut West Virginia's lead down to a point, but a three-point play from Haley gave the Mountaineers a four-point lead. He showed up again with 23 seconds left in the game with two points, while drawing a foul and making his free-throw to make it a 75-74 difference in West Virginia's favor.

"Every game a different guy steps up", said Huggins. "Tonight Emmitt stepped up, and Jermaine also stepped up".

Davide Moretti got things started with a jumper to put Texas Tech ahead early, 2-0.

The loss will leave the Sooners on shaky ground when it comes to an NCAA Tournament bid.

And just maybe the Mountaineers are a young team growing up. (Eastern) on Friday in the Big 12 semifinal game against Kansas (24-8). The Jayhawks beat Texas 65-57 in the last quarterfinal Thursday night.

"We're going to play until we can't play no more", stated Matthews.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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