LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Sean McNeil drew the start when a groin injury sidelined Taz Sherman, who was coming off a career high in scoring, and the West Virginia guard hit his first shot 15 seconds into the game.
The junior kept it going from there.
McNeil scored a career-high 26 points and the No. 14 Mountaineers finished a regular-season sweep of seventh-ranked Texas Tech with an 82-71 victory over the Red Raiders on Tuesday night.
West Virginia (14-5, 7-3 Big 12) won its third consecutive game and ended a four-game skid in Lubbock 15 days after a thrilling 88-87 win at home over Texas Tech when Miles McBride hit the go-ahead jumper in the final seconds.
“Big thing is seeing the first shot go in,” McNeil said. “I was just excited to play. We knew this was a big game for us, on the road, especially after the game we had with them back at our place. We really wanted to come here and get this one.”
McNeil was 8 of 11 overall and 5 of 7 from 3-point range, including one with the shot clock about to expire late in the second half.
McBride scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half coming off a career-best 31 points in a win over Kansas that helped knock the Jayhawks out of the AP Top 25 for the first time in 12 years.
Mac McClung scored 17 points before fouling out for the Red Raiders (14-6, 6-5), who saw a three-game winning streak end a day after reaching their highest ranking of the season.
Derek Culver sat most of the second half with four fouls, but converted a three-point play to help West Virginia stay in front and finished with 15 points and eight rebounds.
McClung fouled out after getting whistled twice in a span of 17 seconds in the final two minutes.
The first foul came before the ball was thrown in on a West Virginia inbound play with 2 seconds on the shot clock. McClung was called for holding Jalen Bridges, who made both free throws for a 73-69 lead with 1:20 remaining.
After missing the rim on a driving layup, McClung was called for his fifth foul when he hit McBride, who made both shots as West Virginia scored its final 12 points at the line and finished 29 of 39 on free throws.
“I thought it was a classic example of the team that made the more mistakes lost the game,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “That was us. Untimely, costly mistakes throughout the game.”
After rallying from 12 points down in the final seven minutes of the first meeting at home, the Mountaineers had to protect a second-half lead on the road.
West Virginia took its biggest lead at nine early in the second half on a 3-pointer from McNeil, but Texas Tech scored six quick points to get within two and keep the game close before the Mountaineers pulled away late.
“You think about the combination we had out there, and they fought their way through it,” coach Bob Huggins said. “I’m as pleased as I can be with how we played.”
West Virginia: Like McBride, Sherman was coming off a career high against Kansas with 25 points. But the Mountaineers did fine without him, thanks in large part to McNeil.
Texas Tech: Beard let his frustration boil over in the final minute, yelling at the referees during a timeout before sitting on the floor and making a timeout signal. That’s when one of the refs ejected him.
West Virginia is likely headed back to the Top 10 if it can keep this winning streak going. Both teams are missing upcoming chances to play No. 2 Baylor because of COVID-19 issues with the Bears.
West Virginia: No. 9 Oklahoma at home Saturday, with the next scheduled game not until Feb. 20 at 13th-ranked Texas because of consecutive games against Baylor postponed.
Texas Tech: With a visit to Baylor on Saturday postponed, the next scheduled game is Monday at TCU.
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