West Virginia tops Texas Tech 78-62 in Big 12 tourney opener
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)
Kedrian Johnson had 20 points, Tre Mitchell added 17 points and nine rebounds, and No. 8 seed West Virginia rolled to a 78-62 victory over ninth-seeded Texas Tech in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament on Wednesday night.
Erik Stevenson added 18 points and Emmitt Matthews Jr. had 13 for the Mountaineers (19-13), who advanced to play third-ranked Kansas - the No. 1 seed and defending champion - in the quarterfinal round on Thursday.
Pop Isaacs had 15 points for Texas Tech (16-16). Kevin Obanor and De'Vion Harmon scored 14 apiece.
The Red Raiders were playing without coach Mark Adams, who was suspended Sunday for what the school called the “use of an inappropriate, unacceptable and racially insensitive comment.” Adams led the Red Raiders to the title game of last year's Big 12 Tournament, where they lost to eventual national champ Kansas.
Whether he returns to Texas Tech is unclear; even before his suspension, there had been talk of unsatisfied boosters as Texas Tech was struggling toward its worst since season since 2015, when Tubby Smith was still the coach.
Corey Williams, the former coach at Stetson, led the Red Raiders on an interim basis in the conference tournament.
They hung tough with West Virginia for about the first 12 minutes, and even led 24-23 on a basket by Jaylon Tyson. The Mountaineers embarked on a 10-2 run to seize control, built a 43-35 lead heading into the break, then quickly stretched their advantage to double digits early in the second half.
Texas Tech didn't help itself with turnovers - nine in the first half and a couple more in the opening minutes of the second, which often allowed the Mountaineers to score before the Red Raiders could set up their stingy half-court defense.
The lead reached 21 points with about 6 1/2 minutes left before West Virginia cruised to the finish.
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Updated March 8, 2023