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Old 02-27-2018, 05:14 AM
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Default (20)West Virginia 84 (12) Texas Tech 74
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Daxter Miles Jr. held back tears before and after the game, but in between he composed himself enough to team with fellow senior Jevon Carter to give No. 20 West Virginia an 84-74 victory over 12th-ranked Texas Tech on Senior Night here at the WVU Coliseum.

It was a memorable bon voyage for the Mountaineers' two standout players.

Carter scored a team-high 21 points and Miles added 18 as the Mountaineers moved into sole possession of second place in the Big 12 standings with one regular season game remaining on Saturday afternoon at Texas.

"I was trying to hold it in," Miles Jr. said afterward. "Last time playing here it was very emotional. I'm at a loss for words.

His teammate wasn't.

"I'm just glad I can enjoy it," Carter said. "This win was big and if we wouldn't have gotten this win all of that would have meant nothing. This place has given me a chance to go on and live my life the way I want to."

West Virginia (22-8, 11-6) scored the first 16 points of the game and had ailing Tech down by 20 with 9:52 remaining in the first half.

The Red Raiders (22-8, 10-7) were playing tonight without three key performers, including leading scorer Keenan Evans, but they battled back to reduce the Mountaineers' lead to seven with 3:07 left in the first half.

"Keenan Evans is really, really good," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. "It'd be like us losing JC. That's the piece that really hurts them the most."

Freshman guard James "Beetle" Bolden ended Tech's flurry with two free throws and started another run for the Mountaineers to give them a 42-29 lead at intermission.

"I think energy had a lot to do with (the team's 16-0 start to the game)," Huggins admitted. "When we play with energy, we're pretty good."

The Red Raiders once again got it to seven on Brandone Francis' 3 two minutes into the second half before Lamont West hit his second 3, a high-arching shot from the corner.

Another Bolden 3 built the lead to 12 and two more Bolden points from the free throw line extended it to 14 with 16:18 remaining.

The Mountaineers' biggest lead of the second half was 19 with 6:27 remaining after Carter's traditional three-point play.

From here, West Virginia was total control of the game.

With less than a minute to play, Miles tried a soaring base line dunk from about eight feet away from the basket that would have brought the place down. He was fouled on the play by Tech's Malik Ondigo and made one of his two free throw attempts.

"I tried, I tried," Miles said afterward. "It never hurts to try."

It was his way of thanking the fans for their support and showing his appreciation for getting an opportunity to play college basketball at West Virginia University.

"Growing up where I grew up, a lot of people don't get a chance like this," he said. "I've met a lot of new friends and this state is different than a lot of states I've been to. There are a lot of hard-working people here and I just try and win for the people."

Before the game, most of the 14,542 in attendance tonight were already in their seats when Carter and Miles walked out on the carpet for one last time at the Coliseum.

"They've been huge for this program," junior forward Esa Ahmad said. "They kind of paved the way for all of us. They kind of rebuilt the program, too, with the 'Press Virginia' and JC with historical numbers. It's real big. We just wanted to get them out of here with a win."

The two have been involved in 96 victories together with Carter taking part in 101 - six short of Da'Sean Butler's school record of 107. Both players have also spent nearly their entire Mountaineer careers in the national polls with the exception of the first month of their freshman season in 2015.

Carter's 21 points tonight moves him past Damian Owens into 13th place on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,633 points while Miles' 18 moves him to within 28 points of tying Chris Leonard for 28th place with 1,235 points.

Carter also moved past All-America guard Ron "Fritz" Williams into third place in career assists with 508. He needs seven more to pass Marsalis Basey into second place; Carter broke the school career steal record earlier this year and now has 306 heading into the regular season finale at Texas on Saturday.

"I will always come back and visit when I can, show these guys love and show the state of West Virginia love just like it has showed me," Carter said.

"I've done a lot of Senior Nights, obviously, but I've never seen two seniors get down and kiss the floor like they did - and mean it," Huggins said. "Those guys love this place - love the program - and will be forever committed to the people of this university and the people of this state, which is an awesome thing."

As a matter of record, Carter said it was Miles' idea to kiss the floor before the pregame introductions and he simply went along with it.

Sophomore forward Sagaba Konate, despite being saddled with early foul trouble, contributed 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting and a reinvigorated Ahmad continued his aggressive play around the basket with an 11-point, 11-rebound, double-double - his second in as many games.

Bolden scored 10 coming off the bench.

Texas Tech, which has now lost four games in a row after sitting in first place in the Big 12 standings for most of February, got 26 points and 12 rebounds from guard Jarrett Culver and 24 points from Niem Stevenson.

Despite the four losses, the Red Raiders are going to be a very dangerous team in Kansas City in the Big 12 Tournament and beyond when they get all of their players healthy.

"You can't win a Big 12 game when you get down 16 to nothing, but at that point, you just try and give yourself a chance and I thought we did," Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. "We cut it to (seven) and then had back-to-back turnovers."

The victory tonight for West Virginia clinches at least a tie for second-place in the Big 12 standings and the Mountaineers can be no worse than a No. 3 seed in next week's Big 12 Championships at the Sprint Center.

The Mountaineers have finished second to Kansas in the league standings the last three years.

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Old 02-27-2018, 09:31 AM
E's Army E's Army is offline
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Tech not the same team without Evans.
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Old 02-27-2018, 09:34 PM
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Way to go Mountaineers!
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Old 02-28-2018, 01:41 PM
BBN42 BBN42 is offline
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I heard Huggins was in Champanville looking at some recruits.
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