WVU basketball: Henderson, Mountaineers silence Texas Tech
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Those who showed up at the Coliseum on Wednesday night were treated to an unexpected duel between Texas Tech's Dusty Hannahs and West Virginia's Terry Henderson.
What they saw was each player set career-high scoring marks as they engaged in some frantic back-and-forth action in the second half. What the crowd of 5,031 couldn't see was what was perhaps most entertaining.
"He was talking to me a little bit early in the game. 'Are we going to have a shootout? Want to have a shootout?'" Henderson said. "I'm not even trying to communicate with him because I know we've got to win this game."
Though Hannahs made plenty of noise with record-setting shooting, it was Henderson's silence that said the most. He was 7-for-7 and scored 20 of his 28 points in the second half of the 87-81 victory against the Red Raiders. Hannahs, a shaggy-haired sophomore who's cut his hair since the last time these two teams played, matched former WVU guard Lionel Armstead's Coliseum record and set an opponent record by going 7-for-7 from 3-point range for 25 points.
"He's a trash talker, but he'll tell you after the game, 'I'm just joking around with you,'" WVU guard Eron Harris said. "He's a trash-talker. Pretty bad one. But it's all fun, though."
The Mountaineers (11-8, 3-3 Big 12) snapped a three-game losing streak overall and a four-game losing streak at home by shooting 69.2 percent in the second half (18-for-26) and letting Henderson handle the big moments four days after he had two points on 1-for-8 shooting in Saturday's loss at Kansas State.
"I'd be lying if I told you I thought he'd go 10-for-13," WVU coach Bob Huggins said, "but I thought he'd play much better."
Henderson made 5 of 6 3-point attempts but also made mid-range jumpers and layups. Harris had 15 points, Juwan Staten added 16 points, seven assists and three steals and Nathan Adrian made a key 3 late to finished with 10 points.
The Mountaineers, who were 8-for-40 from 3-point range the past two games, were 11-for-20 against Texas Tech.
Meanwhile, Hannahs did his damage on just nine shots and added six assists.
"He made some where Terry said, 'Coach, I didn't think he was going to shoot it from there,' " Huggins said.
Hannahs had 14 points, including 10 unanswered at one point, against WVU earlier this month. That was when the Mountaineers began to learn a little about their new nemesis.
"I heard it in Lubbock," Staten sad. "He talked a lot, especially early when he had that one stretch."
Jaye Crockett had 16 points, Toddrick Gotcher had 15, but none in the second half, and Robert Turner added 11 for the Red Raiders (10-9, 2-4). They matched a season-low with 22 points in the paint, but shot 49 percent from the floor and a season-high 63.2 percent from 3-point range (12-for-19).
WVU led by eight points early in the second half when Henderson scored on back-to-back possessions to cap a 7-0 run and force TTU to call a timeout. He'd hit twice more as part of WVU's 6-for-6 start to the second half. TTU followed Hannahs back into the game after he drove on Henderson and scored and then made consecutive 3s to cut WVU's lead to 59-57.
The lead was two again when Henderson took over again, first making a 3 from the right side and then chasing Staten's fast break, dunking in the miss as he was fouled and then making the free throw to go back up eight, 67-59.
Hannahs hung around, though. After Henderson scored on a left-handed layup, Hannahs beat WVU back down the floor and made his sixth three of the game to make it 69-65. Then, oddly enough, defense changed the game for the Mountaineers.
Kevin Noreen defended a shot under the basket and fired the rebound to Staten, who drove and scored. Gary Browne stole a ball and midcourt and coasted in for a layup and Noreen took a charge before Harris made two free throws for a 75-65 lead. The teams traded scores and Adrian made a 3 to put the Mountaineers ahead 80-67 with 5:13 remaining.
That is WVU's largest lead in a Big 12 game this season.
Texas Tech wasn't intimidated, though, and after Staten scored at the end of the shot clock on a second straight possession to go up 84-75, Hannahs hit another 3. Adrian went 1-for-2 at the free-throw line and before Harris fouled Turner on a 3. He made all three free throws to make it 85-81 and WVU nearly turned the ball over on the inbound, but Henderson found it and was fouled. His free throws put the game out of reach.
The Mountaineers, who made just 6 of 20 shots in the first half of Saturday's loss to Kansas State, made their first six 3-point shots in the opening eight minutes. Harris and Henderson sandwiched 3s around a missed TTU dunk and then Henderson flipped in a tricky layup on the fourth shot of the next possession.
WVU finally came away empty, but it was a brief delay before Harris and Henderson made 3s for a 17-6 lead at 14:47 mark. The Mountaineers were up 20-10 when they had to call a timeout inbounding the ball. That preceded a turnover and innocently triggered a ridiculous run by the Red Raiders. They scored the next 16 points on 5-for-5 shooting -- including 4-for-4 from the 3-point line with three by Hannahs -- in just 3:39.
"He started talking, but I tried to keep doing my thing," Henderson said. "I don't try to get all tied up that trash talk stuff."
TTU was up 26-20 when Browne ended the run with free throws and Staten's layup ended a 6:18 stretch without a basket. A basket and four straight free throws from Devin Williams got WVU closer and Browne's nifty layup tied the score 32-32.
The Mountaineers were up 40-36 in the final seconds of the first half when Staten made two free throws. TTU turned the ball over under its basket with 1.2 seconds to go. Adrian threw a deep pass to Harris, but the ball went over Harris and the defender untouched out of bounds. TTU inbounded the ball to Kravic and the 7-footer one-handed a 3-pointer as time expired, the first 3 and only the second attempt of the senior's career, to make it 40-39 at the half.