LUBBOCK, Texas - West Virginia didn't merely reach its breaking point Monday night. It dribbled past it and then took three steps.
An 11-point lead was gone. The calm leader lost his cool. The opponent was throwing in 3-pointers and three-point plays and walking off the court into a timeout while whatever amounted for a crowd rose and roared.
Then just as quickly, the Mountaineers got it back together and got it right when it mattered. Juwan Staten, Devin Williams, Brandon Watkins and Terry Henderson made critical plays in the final three minutes of regulation, none greater than Henderson's long 3-pointer with 16.8 seconds remaining to force overtime.
"At that point in time," West Virginia Coach Bob Huggins said, "we didn't have any choice."
Once there, WVU persevered and prospered, scoring on the first seven possessions and never trailing to steal an 89-86 overtime win before a crowd of 5,005 at United Spirit Arena.
"It's always fun to win by a nice margin, but these are the games you live for," Staten said. "Everybody wants to play college basketball in a close game that goes down to the wire. We prepare for it every day in practice. We went out. We competed. We got it done."
It was not without some chaos at the end, though. It was an 88-83 lead when Texas Tech's Toddrick Gotcher made a 3 with 6.7 seconds to go. WVU nearly turned ball over on the inbound pass twice in a row - and the second was initially ruled a turnover before the officials went to the monitor to review and reverse the call.
Gary Browne was fouled when play resumed and he went 1-for-2 with 4.3 seconds left. The Red Raiders rebounded the miss and called their final timeout with 3.8 seconds left and the Mountaineers leading 89-86. A long pass from WVU's baseline evaded players from both teams before it went out of bounds off WVU under Texas Tech's basket with 3.4 seconds left. WVU didn't foul and Jaye Crockett missed a 3 from the corner over Henderson as the game ended.
"Now that we won, yeah, that was fun, but at the time, it's like, 'Man, why can't we get out of here? Why can't we do the right things?'" WVU guard Eron Harris said. "In the game, it hurt, but right now, it feels so good. It feels like we grinded out a good Big 12 road win."
The Mountaineers shot 55.7 percent to win back-to-back road games in 54 hours after losing their past six true road games. WVU (10-5, 2-0 Big 12) will be in first place in the conference for Saturday's home game against No. 11 Oklahoma State.
"Significant," Harris said. "We want to be the best team in the Big 12. We're 2-0. Let's keep that streak going."