Lubbock, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - With all but one team in the Big 12 Conference at least six games over .500 entering the week, West Virginia has to be feeling the heat as it takes on Texas Tech on Monday night.
Aside from a narrow 74-73 loss to LSU at home during the SEC/Big 12 Challenge last month, the Mountaineers have been unstoppable. Then again, the majority of the non-conference schedule was rather comfortable for a team which has now won six straight outings.
The latest victory took place on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas as the Mountaineers dismissed the TCU Horned Frogs in the conference opener, 78-67.
Meanwhile, Texas Tech is a squad that has played almost exclusively at home in the early going, producing a record of 10-1 in Lubbock and 0-3 everywhere else. Over the weekend, the Red Raiders also opened up their conference calendar versus Texas at home, but that resulted in a 70-61 setback.
The loss was the third in the last four games for a Tech squad that is scheduled to play three of the four games after Monday night on the road, beginning with a stop at Kansas this Saturday.
The Mountaineers own a 5-1 advantage in the all-time series with Texas Tech, which just began back in 2005. West Virginia won both meetings a season ago, although one went to overtime before the visitors picked up the 89-86 triumph.
West Virginia found itself trailing by double figures in the first half at TCU, but closed the gap to two points at the break and then connected on 51.7 percent from the floor and 17-of-22 at the free-throw line in the final frame in order to capture the win. Gary Browne was the top scorer for the visitors with 16 points, followed by Devin Williams and Jaysean Paige with 14 and 10 points, respectively. Defensively, WVU forced 18 turnovers in order to keep the Horned Frogs from jumping back into contention.
The Mountaineers also managed to stay afloat despite missing Juwan Staten, the preseason Big 12 Player of the Year, as he was held out due to illness. Staten, the leading scorer for WVU with 16.1 ppg, not to mention the top passer with 55 assists, is still listed as questionable for Monday's meeting, which means the support staff might have to pick up the slack yet again and lean on Jonathan Holton and Devin Williams who chip in with 10.9 and 10.4 ppg, respectively.
Not a single Texas Tech starter managed to score in double figures during the meeting with the Longhorns on Saturday, combining to shoot just 9-of-29 from the floor and 10-of-20 at the free-throw line during the nine-point home loss. Isaiah Manderson was the only player in double figures with 12 points, hitting 6-of-8 shots from the floor in a matter of just 11 minutes. However, the team as a whole still connected on just 4-of-19 behind the 3-point line and 13- of-26 at the free-throw line, while also turning the ball over 15 times.
Manderson, who has scored in double figures in two straight contests, has come off the bench in every game and is averaging only 4.8 ppg for a unit that is coming in at 68.4 ppg. Devaugntah Williams, a 40.8 percent shooter from the field, accounts for 11.0 ppg, but clearly offense is not the top priority for this group as it limits foes to 58.7 ppg on 37.8 percent accuracy from the floor.