Moretti leads with 16 but Red Raiders fall to No. 17 WVU 66-54

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia – No. 22 Texas Tech dropped its second Big 12 game of the week after falling 66-54 to No. 17 West Virginia on Saturday at the WVU Coliseum where it was limited to 30.9 percent shooting and saw the Mountaineers make 17 more free throws.

The Red Raiders (10-5, 1-2 Big 12) will return to action at 7 p.m. on Tuesday against Kansas State at the Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas before turning home to host Iowa State on Saturday, Jan. 18 at the United Supermarkets Arena. The Mountaineers improved to 13-2 on the season, 7-0 at home and are now 2-1 to start conference play. Tech is now 0-2 in true road games.

Davide Moretti led Tech with 16 points after hitting four 3-pointers, while Kyler Edwards led the team and matched a career-best with eight rebounds and scored nine points and Jahmi’us Ramsey had eight. Moretti, who was one 3-pointer away from matching his career-high, now has two games this season with four 3-pointers. Chris Clarke led the team with four assists and added six points and six rebounds.

“One of many parts of West Virginia’s identity is their size,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “They’re kind of a unique team. They’re a team you don’t see much in college basketball anymore with their two bigs. We had some game plan stuff we wanted to get to, but game plans kind of go out the door when you can’t score. You find yourself in this game, and I thought we played decent defense tonight at times, but we were just really bad on the offensive end. On a night where we couldn’t hit any shots, we also could not get to the free throw line, and then (we had) way too many turnovers.”

Texas Tech was down only six points after an Avery Benson 3-pointer that brought the game to 52-46 with seven minutes to play before the Mountaineers went on a 9-0 run that had them up 61-46 with 2:25. During that run that put the game away, the Red Raiders were 0-for-8 from the field before Ramsey made a layup with 1:42 remaining to stop the run. West Virginia had its first double-digit lead after going on a 6-0 run with 11:52 to play with Miles McBride scoring five of those six points.

Ramsey was limited to single digits for the first game that he played the entirety after going 3-for-14 from the field and 1 of 5 on 3-pointers. He came into the game leading the team with 17.7 points per game and off a game where he knocked down five 3-pointers against Baylor and 13 in the past three games. The Red Raiders finished the game shooting 21 of 68 from the field, 6 of 28 on 3-pointers and were 6-for-7 from the free-throw line. WVU finished the game 23-for-35 at the free-throw line and owned a 38-29 rebounding advantage.

“I hate the coach that gets up here and talks about how we couldn’t make a shot,” Beard said. “The reason we couldn’t make a shot was the other team was well-coached, has good players, was dialed in and played great defense. There certainly were possessions where we couldn’t get into our offense, no doubt about it, but I think it is safe to say we had good looks that we have to knock down.”

McBride led the Mountaineers with 22 points after knocking down eight shots and going 5 of 6 from the free-throw line, while Oscar Tshiebwe had 15 rebounds and seven points. Derek Culver finished the game with eight points and six rebounds for WVU which was at 42.6 percent from the field.

Texas Tech trailed 37-31 at halftime with WVU owning a 20-12 rebounding advantage and shooting 13-for-25 from the field. The Red Raiders, who led for the only time in the game at 9-7 on a Ramsey 3-pointer, were limited to just 37.5 percent shooting but were 4 of 10 led by Moretti who had nine points at the break after going 3-for-6 from beyond the arc. Ramsey finished the opening half with six points, while Clarke had five assists.

Texas Tech is now 1-7 all-time in Morgantown and trails in the series 14-5.

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