MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Texas Tech’s Jaylon Tyson and West Virginia’s Erik Stevenson went head-to-head in a shootout on Saturday, but the Red Raider guard prevailed to lead his team to a 78-72 win at the WVU Coliseum.
Tyson led the game with 27 points and carried Texas Tech on a second-half run to recoup a win over the Mountaineers after falling to WVU at home in January. That output was a season-high for the sophomore.
“I didn’t know I had the touch,” Tyson said. “I didn’t even know I had 27, for real.”
His explosion at the end of the game was one of the main factors in Texas Tech’s second-half comeback as the Red Raiders fought back from an eight-point deficit with just under nine minutes left.
Part of that comeback, according to WVU coach Bob Huggins, was due to an ineffective switch to a 2-3 zone on defense.
“I think when we got the eight-point lead, we had some guys relax,” Huggins said.
Stevenson was the Mountaineers’ main source of offense and took 21 shots in the game, his second-highest number of attempts this season. He knocked down nine of those field goals, six of which were three-pointers.
He cooled off at an inopportune time for WVU, though, missing his last five shots as the Mountaineers attempted to regain the lead in the final minutes.
“I definitely got good looks, it just didn’t go in,” Stevenson said. “That’s not what lost us the game.”
Texas Tech edged the Mountaineers in the hustle statistics, posting a plus-11 margin on the rebounding glass and forcing 14 West Virginia turnovers. The Red Raiders also recorded 42 points in the paint as they dominated the inside game.
“We have talked and drilled and talked and drilled on the fact that we have an advantage here…we play well at home generally, then at the free throw line, we don’t move,” Huggins said. “We don’t move. That turned the game around, you can say whatever you want, that totally turned the game around.”
Finally, the unsuspecting forward Fardaws Aimaq sealed the win for Texas Tech, knocking down all 10 of his free throw attempts, including four in the final minutes, after entering the game as a 64-percent free throw shooter.
Aimaq finished with a double-double, logging 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Kedrian Johnson also contributed to the Mountaineer offense, logging 20 points with a pair of three-pointers. beyond him, no Mountaineer scored more than five points.
West Virginia’s loss deals the team a blow as it looks to improve its NCAA Tournament resume. It entered the game on the bubble and has four more chances to bolster its case before the postseason begins.
The Mountaineers return to the court on Monday when it hosts Oklahoma State. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.