Player of the Game | Jarrett Culver had the team high scoring with 16 points on 50% shooting (6-12 FGs) from the field to go along with 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block.
Stat of the Game | Free throws was the stat that stuck out to everyone tonight. As a team, the Red Raiders shot 11-21 (52.4%) from the charity stripe. Keenan Evans had a horrible night from the line only making 3-8 (37.5%); which is not like himself who normally shoots over 80% for the season.
How the Game was Lost | Most of the second half the Red Raiders were playing catch-up to West Virginia. It was back-and-forth through the final minutes, and it was a hard fought defensive battle. The Mountaineers connected on a lot of downtown shots 10-20 (50%), while Tech opted to take the ball to the rim. Both teams got hot and cold throughout the match, but Tech could not hit the shots at the end to get ahead.
Missed opportunities for the Red Raiders to steal the victory all happened with under a minute left in the contest. Whether it was missed free throws or forced shots; we did not look good enough in the closing minute to finish the game.
Turning Point | Tech had a chance to tie or take the lead close to the buzzer. With 13 seconds left Evans took a contested three-point prayer, and Zhaire Smith had a tough time trying to save the miss from going out of bounds. The foul that occurred on Dexter Miles (WVU) at 7 seconds left after that was when you felt it was going to be difficult and take a miracle to win. It did not happen.
Team Observations | It was disappointing to get the #2 seed in the Big 12 tournament and not make it to the Championship game. Yet, we know that our postseason is not close to over. If we had won, we probably secured a #3 seed for the Big Dance. Now, with a loss it is debatable if we get the #3 or #4 seed. That will be left up to the NCAA committee on Sunday.
The team was not clicking the way you would want to see, and Keenan Evans did not have his normal heroics at the end to finish the game. The positive is that we look to be back to better health and have more roster depth than we did the last few games of the regular season. It is time to put this Big 12 tournament behind us and focus on March Madness. That is the place where we want to use all our magic. This is a special squad and they will be nice and rested when it comes time to play the first round. San Antonio is the destination for the Final Four, and all of us are ready to cheer our Red Raiders all the way to Alamo City. Wreck ’em Tech!!!