No. 12 West Virginia arrives in Lubbock, Texas, this week on a bit of a roll, and has a chance to help its head coach surpass a legend in victories.
Bob Huggins can move past the late Adolph Rupp for seventh place in career coaching victories if the Mountaineers can get past Texas Tech on Wednesday night. Huggins and Rupp each have 876 victories.
Huggins moved into a tie with Rupp with West Virginia’s 74-51 romp over Missouri on Saturday. They are currently tied for the 14th most victories among coaches of men’s programs. Dean Smith is 13th on the list at 879.
“I used to sit there and listen to my dad (a former coach) … and they’d tell him, ‘That was win number whatever’ and his response was ‘Man, that just means I’m old,'” Huggins said, according to West Virginia MetroNews. “Every one of those guys on there are old. I’m more caught up on we’re 16-3 and we need to be 29-3.”
The Mountaineers (16-3, 4-2 Big 12) defeated the Red Raiders 66-54 on Jan. 11 at home. Miles McBride’s 22 points led the way in that game.
Against Missouri, the Mountaineers led by just one at halftime at 24-23 before outscoring the Tigers 50-28 in the second half. The victory included a 21-0 run that started early in the second half. West Virginia also had a 28-2 run in a win over Texas on Jan. 20.
“It starts with getting stops to get easy baskets,” guard Jermaine Hailey said. “Coach says we’re not always going to be able to grind out possessions in the half court. We did a great job of executing on defense in the second half.”
West Virginia has won four the last six meetings between the two teams.
Texas Tech (12-7, 3-3) fell out of the top 25 with their 76-74 overtime loss to current No. 13 Kentucky on Saturday in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. The Red Raiders came into that game at No. 18 and rallied from a 10-point deficit in the second half only to come up just short.
“We played 20 minutes; they beat us by two. We play another 20 minutes we beat them by two,” coach Chris Beard told reporters afterward. “Then we play five minutes and they beat us with a couple of free throws. I wish we could have played another five minutes.”
The Red Raiders will look to start another home winning streak after they were dealt their first nonconference loss at Lubbock since Dec. 21, 2013 against LSU. That led to a 54-game home winning streak.
They made just 3 of 19 from 3-point range against Kentucky.
“It’s going to be hard if we don’t shoot a better percentage than that from 3,” Beard said.
Guard Davide Moretti came up big to help Texas Tech rally to force overtime. He scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half and was key in the final minutes of regulation time.
Kyler Edwards had 18 points and seven rebounds to lead the Red Raiders in the loss.
Texas Tech is in the middle of a difficult stretch of games that started with Kentucky. On Wednesday it will be West Virginia followed by a road game against current No. 3 Kansas on Saturday.
–Field Level Media