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January 6, 2014

Tech falls to WVU in OT

The Red Raiders came very close to snapping an ugly trend that has emerged this season in an 89-86 overtime loss against West Virginia on Monday.

Texas Tech did make a Mountaineers team that led the game for 32 minutes sweat out a comeback for overtime. That's an important milestone because Alabama, Pittsburgh, Arizona, LSU, Arizona State and Iowa State never completely gave away leads in the clutch.

"That's what we didn't do the other day," head coach Tubby Smith said after the game. "We didn't do it against LSU. We had a chance against Iowa State, 50-50 and turned it over three times, but today we pushed through. We have made some strides since the Iowa State game. We're learning. It would just be better if we won those games."

Tech (8-7, 0-2) began to reel in an 11-point deficit West Virginia (10-5, 2-0) built up in the second minute of the second half when shooting guard Dusty Hannahs scored 10 of the Red Raiders' 12 points through two-and-a-half minute period. That cut the Mountaineers' lead to 53-50 with 12:27 to play in regulation.

But West Virginia seemed like it was going to hold on and preserve a lead that ranged from five points to one point until the five-minute mark of the second half.

Forward Jaye Crockett led a 7-2 run from there to tie the game at 68-68 with five points. He then scored a layup to give Tech a 70-68 lead while being fouled by Devin Williams which put the Red Raiders in the double bonus.

And then he hit the ensuing free throw.

Tech worked its lead out to 77-74 with 27 seconds remaining in regulation.

West Virginia's Terry Henderson hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 77-77 with 18 seconds left. Hannahs missed a game-winning 3-pointer with four seconds left in the second period.

The Mountaineers took a one-point lead on a made Williams free throw with 3:56 to play in overtime. That final lead reached as high as four points, 87-83, with 36 seconds to go.

Tech got back within two points when Toddrick Gotcher scored from beyond the arc with 10 seconds to go. The Red Raiders were forced to enter foul mode at that point.

West Virginia's Gary Browne made the front end of a pair of three throws. Crockett got the defensive rebound on the second shot and Tech called a timeout with 3.8 seconds left.

Aaron Ross overthrew a deep inbounds pass to Crockett, but a Mountaineer touched the ball before it bounced out on the other side of the floor.

The clock didn't tick during that sequence of events. After a long deliberation by the referees, the ball was awarded to Tech with 3.4 seconds on the clock.

Crockett missed a game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer.

"I had confidence in the shot," Crockett said. "It was just a little short. Just came off short."

The senior finished the game with 15 points despite only 22 minutes of action due to mild foul trouble. He recorded his third foul in the first minute of the second half.

It allowed Gotcher to play 41 minutes and work his way to a team second-best 17 points.

Jordan Tolbert led the Red Raiders with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Hannahs finished the game with 14 points. He did not score in the first half.

"Everybody dreams about games like overtime and close games," Gotcher said. "We definitely don't like blowout games. It's the type of game we like to play in. We just want to come out on top next time."

Tech had a great night shooting free throws. It wouldn't have come close otherwise.

The team made 22 of 26 shots from the charity stripe. West Virginia connected on 13 of 22 free throws.

The Red Raiders also won the battle of the boards with 36 rebounds to the Mountaineers' 26.

"These hurt more than losing by 50, these close games, because you fight so hard to the very last second," Crockett said. "It just kills you."

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