Other Campuses: Loss to West Virginia stops Texas Tech

By University Daily

(U-WIRE) ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – It came down to a few mistakes – something they have tried all season to correct.

The difference: the Elite Eight was on the line, and the sixth-seeded Red Raiders let it slip away Thursday night at University Arena in the last five minutes.

Texas Tech coach Bob Knight said it all depended on the team that made the least number of mistakes, and the Raiders’ 16 turnovers and 42.9 shooting percentage were the main reasons for the loss.

“If one team makes a couple of plays, and the other team doesn’t, then that’s the difference,” he said.

Tech scored on only one of its last eight possessions, allowing seventh-seeded West Virginia to advance to the regional finals after a 65-60 victory.

Guard Ronald Ross scored 16 points against the Mountaineers, 10 of which came in the second half. But his last two shots came down to desperation in front of a predominantly Tech-favored crowd of 15,792.

Ross, who has averaged approximately 25 points per game in the postseason, was 3-of-11 in the first half and finished 8-of-22 from the floor during the game.

Those missed shots and turnovers led to Tech’s ultimate drawback.

With 30 seconds left in the game, West Virginia guard Patrick Beilein grabbed the ball after two misses by Tech and, as he fell out of bounds in front of the Raiders’ bench, called timeout with the Mountaineers still up by two.

Knight ran out on the floor, yelling at the referees about giving the timeout and possession to West Virginia.

Knight said the call did not matter, because each team had the opportunity to take the victory within the last minute or so.

“Right down to the 45 seconds down left to play, each team had a chance to win,” he said.

The Raiders winded 14 seconds off the clock with the Mountaineers driving down the court before finally calling the intentional foul.

Kevin Pittsnogle, who scored 22 for West Virginia, knocked down both of his free throws to give the Mountaineers a four-point edge.

Ross put up a 3-pointer from the left corner, falling just short.

D’or Fischer put the final point on the board for West Virginia from the line, finishing with its 24th win of the season and its second Elite Eight appearance in school history.

After the game, Ross put his jersey over his head in the place where he had led Hobbs, N.M., High in three state championship titles.

An unusual aspect of Ross’ game was points that came from dunks. The 6-foot-2 guard has not gotten a hold of the rim much this season, but after Tech was trailing by four midway through the second, he had no other choice but to try and step up.

Ross stole the ball from Mountaineer guard Mike Gansey two consecutive times five minutes into the second half after being tied at halftime. On the breakaway, Ross leaped into the air, performing the act not often seen from him.

Those two buckets tied the game once again at 40. Another senior, Curtis Marshall, stole the ball twice and gave Tech a chance to take the lead, 49-48.

The first half reflected in the second as the Raiders attempted to perform the acts of the last three games.

Against Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Conference Tournament, UCLA in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and Gonzaga in the second round, Tech was able to overcome a deficit to win or come close against its opponent.

In this matchup however, the Raiders were tied with the Mountaineers at 32 during halftime. The reason it was tied though is Tech’s 11-2 run capped off by a 3-pointer by Marshall with three minutes remaining.

Mountaineer shooters hit 7-of-16 3-pointers, five of which came consecutively to put West Virginia up by eight in the first.

The loss hurts, Knight said, but it does not mean the season did not have its accomplishments.

“If they can look at the total picture of the season, they should feel very proud of what they’ve accomplished,” he said.

– Joey Kirk