WVU v. Texas Tech: Headbantage, Rebels

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You are looking live inside United Spirit Arena, where WVU will tango with Texas Tech in just a little bit and where the Red Raiders will enjoy a home court advantage and a sizable edge in headbands. That’s Deaflympics bronze medalist Luke Adams at the foul line and Shooter! Dusty Hannahs at the 3-point line. Seriously, Hannahs is the maybe the only guy who is much of a threat from the arch.

The Mountaineers have an esteemed fraternity of headbandits: Kevin Jones, John Flowers, Dan Jennings, Devin Ebanks … I could go on  to D’or Fischer, Chaz Briggs, Drew Schifino … but they haven’t had a member these past two seasons. And these past two seasons have been unkind. I sincerely doubt this is a coincidence.

The Red Raiders will need all the power of the headbands absent a student a section and whatever energy was expended and lost as they rallied from down 15 points in the second half Saturday and lost 73-62 here against Iowa State.

There are no motorcycles in the gym this season, either. That’s a shame…

Then again, perhaps WVU has lost some GQ mojo. Eron Harris has ditched the neon green socks.

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That shot did not go in, by the way.

And since you can’t wait for the update, no, there is no sign of Jonathan Holton, nor was there any sort of news delivered from the NCAA to the Mountaineers today. I’m going to create a hashtag for this saga.

Example: WVU could use some help inside against a Texas Tech team that pounds it down low and pushes for paint touches. #NoHolton

Or …

The Mountaineers pass the eyeball test standing next to these Red Raiders. #NoHolton

Seriously, WVU has to play big inside. Texas Tech has scored 543 of its 1,029 points in the paint this season. That’s 38.8 points per game, and that would be a school record. The Red Raiders don’t shoot or make 3-pointers — they get 18.3 percent of their points from outside, the 10th lowest percentage among power conference teams — because they shoot 53.3 percent from 2-point range and get 61.4 percent of their scoring there — the fifth highest total in the country.

Forwards Jaye Crockett (14.1 points per game) and Jordan Tolbert (12.5) are both 6-foot-7 and are both shooting 60 percent from the floor. Seven-footer Dejan Kravic can be a handful now that he’s healthy. He’s been fit the past five games and averaged 9.8 points and 6.4 rebounds, and the guy whose tip-in knocked WVU out of the Big 12 Tournament last season has shot 19-for-38 along the way.

Kravic’s nationality? Canadian, of course.

Let’s blog, eh?

Mike Casazza January 6, 20147:34 pm

Henderson is WVU’s perpetually-and-sometimes-inexplicably confident guy. He’s never up or down, in his POV. He’ll do anything if he gets a chance, and I kind of think you need a guy like that just to push through things sometimes. That transition crossover on Adams was one such moment.

Mike Casazza January 6, 20147:31 pm

The Staten post up is interesting because Henderson and Harris can shoot and Watkins and Williams do make cuts. Let’s see how long Adams plays and if WVU sticks with it.

Mike Casazza January 6, 20147:27 pm

John Higgins, everybody. He’s the guy who drove WVU absolutely insane a few times last season, most memorably and most notably in the Big 12 tourney loss to Texas Tech, by the way.

Mike Casazza January 6, 20147:25 pm

Staten had an 0-for-2 at the line earlier after finishing Saturday’s game with a 3-for-6 spell. He goes 1-for-2 here to put WVU ahead 28-24.

Mike Casazza January 6, 20147:23 pm

There’s three on Dibo and he hasn’t broken a sweat doing it. Adrian has two, as well. This is TTU’s game plan and so far it’s working, though not spectacularly.

Mike Casazza January 6, 20147:22 pm

Just terrible luck with the the internet here, but WVU is up 27-22 thanks to eight TCU turnovers, and early surge by Henderson and pretty good shooting (11-22/4-9).

WVU is cycling through bigs, though. Dibo had two inexpensive fouls, but is back in the game. Noreen started and sat after just two minutes. Willliams and Watkins have been one duo to play together and Dibo and Nathan Adrian have been another.

Texas Tech has a 14-7 rebounding advantage, but is down 12-10 in paint scoring.

Mike Casazza January 6, 20147:09 pm

…and we’re back. TTU has been raining 3s (plural … two), but Henderson was hot early and has eight points as WVU has cycled through bigs and finally got a hoop from Harris for a 20-14 lead.

Mike Casazza January 6, 20146:52 pm

Naturally, TT opens with a 3.

Mike Casazza January 6, 20146:51 pm

Also, this is the most barely filled arena I’ve been in.

Mike Casazza January 6, 20146:49 pm

And let’s keep an eye on the X-factor, I think, for Texas Tech. Junior college transfer Robert Turner is the piece that doesn’t fit. He’s the third-leading scorer (9.4) and has plays the second-most minutes (27.3.) He’s been a really bad shooter — 47-for-126, 37.3 percent. He shoots a lot and takes a bunch of 3s and it’s sort of against the grain.

Mike Casazza January 6, 20146:47 pm

No promises on the wifi here. I dislike this place. It’s where I fell off of press row and into the student section last season because you’re herded and crammed into a small area that’s suited for one row of the media and instead has two.

77 Responses to “WVU v. Texas Tech: Headbantage, Rebels”

  1. smeer says:

    2-0 in B12 on the road

  2. avb31 says:

    Feels like we stole one there. Won’t ever give back two roads wins in conference though. Hopefully they grew up a little bit tonight.

    One thing is clear. Staten is a beast.

  3. Rugger says:

    Nice conference road win!

    avb buys a round for quittin early. Make mine a saspirilla.

  4. jtmountaineer says:

    I’m disproportionately pleased to have won that game. We’ll take it. Not pretty, but sometimes they aren’t.

    Free throws, gentlemen. Shoot them on the plane ride home.

  5. avb31 says:

    Out of state….had to watch the ESPN3 feed….I’m sure it was probably trailing a little bit.

    Power went out for about 15 minutes and I missed the Staten T. Anyone care to elaborate?

  6. smeer says:

    fun bantering all – later

  7. Shoot4show says:

    Good Lord. That was harder than it should have been. Good news is that’s two road wins to start conference play. Those are nice to have in your back pocket.

  8. I love you, Doug! says:

    Was watching on GameCast. That’ last 4 seconds took forever. What happened?

  9. avb31 says:

    I’d seen this movie one too many times.

    Just gives me another reason to like this team. They play their butts off.

  10. smeer says:

    avb – he made a nice move – layup – defender on the floor and he gives him a look and maybe words

  11. Rugger says:

    I think he and pretty boy were going at it all game.

  12. jtmountaineer says:

    Hickman’s view on the Staten T was that he complained to the ref for not getting a foul call as well as the made shot. After the T, Hugs apparently said something like, “Maybe if you’d call a foul once in a while.”

    Oh, and…

    We’re not DePaul! We’re not DePaul!

  13. smeer says:

    ILYD – refs took ten minutes to determine that .4 seconds went off the clock on a full length pass that went off Williams shin on a ball he should have avoided

  14. smeer says:

    fortunately, ILYD did not have to view their cheerleaders

    obviously, the school is not using female escorts to recruit athletes

  15. MontanaEer says:

    Instead of Red Raiders, should it be Hannahs & His Brothers?

  16. The Canadian National Tower.

    It’s the length of six American football fields, or five Canadian football fields…as if Canadian football really counts!

  17. smeer says:

    and the kicker – someone capture the screen – we currently sit alone in first place in the B12

  18. netbros says:

    Biggest play of the game… Adrian’s steal and only basket. Turned the tide.

  19. I love you, Doug! says:

    Thanks, smeer!

  20. The Artist Formerly Known as EER96 says:

    My cardiologist and I really like how these guys make every win so effortless and calming. Does Huggs make these guys practice free throws?

  21. smeer says:

    montanaeer – Hannas and HER brothers

    dudette should give up basketball and start doing shampoo commercials

    and what is keeping Luke Adams from star(r or t)ing at TT is not that he is hearing impaired but that he is height impaired (5’9″ is generous). then again maybe it’s his Justin Bieber haircut

    TT wins the league’s best hair team?

  22. Mack says:

    The Staten T made such little sense that I had to think it was for something that happened earlier. He made his shot and the guy on him went to the floor and Staten look at him and said something . . . but he looked at him for less than a second-and-a-half and couldn’t have said more than two words. And he SAID something… he didn’t shout it or taunt or anything. Just didn’t really look like anything to me (compared to what we’re all used to seeing). Of course, we can all think of two words that probably would get you a T no matter how you said them.

  23. Rugger says:

    Big difference between flying home from Lubbock as victors and flying back after losing to Lief Garrett et al.

    Important win, imo.

    I am not going to start a fan club for obvious reasons but I’m going on record as a Watkins guy. His bi polar play reminds me of myself but he’s young and he’s getting better every day. Boy got some dog in him.

  24. jtmountaineer says:

    With you on Watkins, Rugger. He reminds me, as a freshman, what Dominique Rutledge took a year and a half to become for us, a solid situational guy. That Watkins has 3.5 years left, he can obviously become far, far more than ‘Nique was able to be for us.

    Have to be guarded about the positivity taken away from that victory, but it can’t be understated how awful the loss would have been for morale, momentum, etc. TCU and Tech are both better than last year, which is saying little, of course, but 2 road league wins back to back to start conference play is nothing to sneeze at in any league, against any two opponents.

  25. Mack says:

    Watkins looks like he has better instincts than Rutledge. I thought Rutledge was all athlete and zero basketball player.

  26. jtmountaineer says:

    Mack, agreed. Watkins has impressed me with his passing and finishing around the basket. To be honest, he and Adrian have provided far more than I expected from either in their freshman years. I remember faint whispers last year, from people who wouldn’t really have been knowledgeable on the subject, about either of the two taking a red shirt this year because they might not be ready to contribute meaningfully. Both have.

  27. smeer says:

    if williams keeps improving on foul shooting, he too will be a force. the new rules help him. he draws contat and can get other bigs in foul trouble. but he’s got to claim his charity at the line.

    i too like watkins – he has some hops and I just picture what the S&C guys will have him become. lengthy defender who can enforce by shot alteration but not the body weight at this point to bang. and really a nice if not overwhelming O game.

    Adrian too – that was clutch the steal – he’s a heady ball player. I now want him to think less on the O end. (he needs a little of Henderson in him) after bricking his first two or three, he attempted nothing. in the second half with TT closing he passed up open threes – you could sense he didn’t feel comfortable shooting. Surprisingly – Adrian holding off Dibo but losing minutes to Watkins.

    Henderson – times you go “no no no . . . yes!” – the one on three drive, the pull up fast break jumper with no one near the basket

    staten – getting so much better – picking the right moments to take the ball to the basket (ala no bigs in the paint). in that, he has graduated from Truck Bryant school of out-of-control dirves. just enough jump shot to keep defenders honest. again going where Truck has never gone before. My only wish is that he would learn to penetrate and dish to the wing. i’ve not see it and it would be unstoppable with Harris or Henderson or Adrian (and dibo some day?) stepping into their threes – something they are rarely doing now.

    for once this team has some upside. learning as it grows up. Now learn how to close out a team with solid D and opportune shots.