Texas Tech was the latest team to fall victim to the Mountaineers’ press defense. The Red Raiders turned the ball over 26 times on Saturday.
Devin Williams scored 18 points and No. 17 West Virginia walloped Texas Tech in a 77-58 win in front of a sold out Coliseum crowd.
Daxter Miles Jr. had 12 points. Seniors Juwan Staten added 11 and Gary Browne scored 10 as West Virginia improved to 18-3 on the season.
With its victory over the Red Raiders, the Mountaineers swept the season series and topped their win total from last season.
Robert Turner gave the Mountaineers fits in the first half, scoring 18 points but was held scoreless after halftime.
“(We) Put Gary Browne on him,” head coach Bob Huggins said. “Told Gary don’t let him catch any.”
Aaron Ross had 13 points and Isaiah Manderson added 10 for the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech couldn’t handle the Mountaineers full-court press in the second half. Turnover after turnover allowed West Virginia to pull away.
“If you were walking down the street and somebody just got in your face about three inches away for a few blocks, would that bother you?” Huggins said.”No one wants to play against that. No one wants that in their life. It’s uncomfortable. People just want to slap you.”
“It does make you uncomfortable to play against someone who presses them. But, you can still play.”
The Mountaineers went on a 16-2 run where Staten and Williams scored five apiece and West Virginia took a 53-33 lead with 13:44 left.
Emotions ran high in the first half as the wear and tear of the Mountaineers’ defense frustrated the Red Raiders. Texas Tech was down 28-14 when Center Norense Odiase was ejected in first half for his response to obscene hand gestures by Brandon Watkins.
Watkins drew a foul from Turner and the West Virginia sophomore forward flipped both his middle fingers to the Red Raiders, who were jawing at Watkins. A scrum broke out and Odiase was pushing West Virginia players.
Minutes later Aaron Ross picked up a flagrant one for swinging his elbows at West Virginia’s Williams.
The Red Raiders were down 16 but a 17-6 run cut the West Virginia lead to 37-31 at halftime.
Four different Mountaineers each made two from beyond-the-arc in the win. Browne, State, Miles, and Jaysean Paige all made 3-pointers.
The Mountaineers lead the nation by forcing an average of 22 turnovers per game.
West Virginia will travel to Norman on Tuesday to take on the No. 24 Oklahoma Sooners at 8 p.m.