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Red Raiders dominate the Mountaineers with strong defense

13 steals and just nine allowed field goals led the Red Raiders to victory.

NCAA Basketball: West Virginia at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 18 Texas Tech Red Raiders dominated the West Virginia Mountaineers by a score of 81-50. The Red Raiders played suffocating defense throughout the game and held the Mountaineers to just 9 made field goals in the game. The Red Raiders did everything they needed to do after the embarrassing loss to the Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday. They came out and outclassed the Mountaineers by playing with effort and confidence, something the team has lacked in some moments of the past weeks.

NCAA Basketball: West Virginia at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Forcing turnovers have been a staple of this defense, and today was no different. They started out the game cold from the field as the two teams were tied with a score of 12-12 going into the under 12 timeout. That is when the Red Raiders really turned on the defensive pressure and caused the Mountaineers to make some mistakes with the ball. The momentum really swung in the Red Raiders’ direction with a huge offensive rebound and putback dunk by Norense Odiase. From that point onward, the Red Raiders never trailed, and the domination on both sides of the ball in this game began.

That began an 11-0 run and a great run on the defensive side of the ball as the Red Raiders didn’t allow the Mountaineers to score a field goal for the last 16 minutes of the first half. The Red Raiders played suffocating defense and forced 12 turnovers in the first half. The Red Raiders came into the locker room with a 36-21 lead.

The Red Raiders didn’t let up in the second half either. The team came out with two easy shots, both assisted by Jarrett Culver. The Red Raiders had 20 assists tonight on 30 made shots including five from Matt Mooney and four from Jarrett Culver, Davide Moretti, and Kyler Edwards.

NCAA Basketball: West Virginia at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Mountaineers went almost 8 minutes without a field goal in the second half. This run by the Red Raiders included forcing four turnovers. Steals were a huge part of this game. The Red Raiders had 13 steals on the game, including four from Mooney, and three from Brandone Francis and walk-on Avery Benson, who saw extended time tonight in both halves of this game.

NCAA Basketball: West Virginia at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Benson did a great job of filling in a couple of minutes in the first half with great defense and effort. I think Coach Beard will use him more often in the regular rotation as he bring energy to the entire team and electrified the crowd multiple times as his effort was inspiring to all of his teammates. Not only does he play with great energy, but he can guard multiple positions on the defensive end.

The game got really out of hand in the second half. The Red Raiders started making shots and that allowed the team to run the Mountaineers out of the building and allowed this team to really get in the head of the Mountaineers. West Virginia committed multiple flagrant and technical fouls. One of the Mountaineers bench players was even ejected from the game for tripping Matt Mooney in the second half.

Davide Moretti, Brandone Francis, and walk-on Parker Hicks were just some of the Red Raiders to hit three-pointers in the later stages of this game to put the Mountaineers away. 12 guys played for the Red Raiders tonight including all of the walk-on players. Hicks led the walk-on crew with 5 points, but Josh Mballa had a huge block on Derek Culver in the last minutes of the game. This crew plays their butts off anytime they hit the court and its shows that Coach Beard has really instilled a culture throughout the entire program.

Jarrett Culver finished with only 12 points but still had a huge impact on the game as his defense led this team to a huge win. Deshawn Corprew didn’t miss a shot in this game as he went 3-3 from the field including 2-2 from three-point range and 2-2 from the free throw line as well as he scored 10 points and also added 3 rebounds.

NCAA Basketball: West Virginia at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Davide Moretti hit four free throws and a three pointer on his way to a 10 point night. Norense Odiase was one point away from a double-double as he had 10 rebounds, including four offensive rebounds, and had some huge putback dunks to energize the team and the crowd. None of these guys had as good of a night as our player of the game.

Player of the Game: Brandone Francis

Something about the West Virginia Mountaineers just brings out the best in Brandone Francis. Francis not only had 16 points, but had 3 huge steals for the team and played good defense in 24 minutes. Francis took the most shots on the team and also made the most shots on the team going 7-10 including 2-3 from behind the arc.

NCAA Basketball: West Virginia at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Francis has been playing out of his mind lately and is really personifying the kind of player that Chris Beard wants to bring off the bench, someone who will not only score the rock, but will lock down on the defensive end of the floor and lead the second unit. Congrats to Brandone Francis on another great game.

The Red Raiders now have 6 Big 12 wins this season with games against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State on the road coming up over the next week. If the Red Raiders could find someway to come out of this roadtrip with two wins, they could be in prime position to potentially steal the Big 12 title away from Kansas. Good game tonight fellas, let’s continue this momentum on Saturday.