West Virginia, Texas Tech are in desperation mode

The level of desperation will be high when West Virginia and Texas Tech meet on Wednesday in Big 12 Conference play in Lubbock, Texas.

The matchup is between the bottom two teams in the conference standings. Both teams enjoyed early stints in the Top 25 this season but will have to make serious improvements to get back in the running for an NCAA bid.

The Mountaineers (11-8, 1-6) arrive after a 69-61 loss to then-No. 7 Texas on Saturday.

West Virginia succumbed to a late run by the Longhorns and to its own end-of-game shooting woes. The Mountaineers went the final 4:23 without a field goal and didn’t score over the last 2:39, losing for the sixth time in seven games.

Kedrian Johnson led West Virginia with a season-best 22 points while Tre Mitchell added 12 in the loss, which came after the Mountaineers defeated then-No. 14 TCU on Jan. 18 to earn their lone conference win.

West Virginia committed 20 turnovers and missed four key free throws in the second half.

“So, we throw the ball to them, we don’t make free throws, and then we shot it very poorly. You don’t have a chance,” coach Bob Huggins said afterward. “I’m beside myself because I thought we were kind of getting it moving in the right direction.”

The Red Raiders (10-9, 0-7) return home after a 68-58 loss at then-No. 13 Kansas State on Saturday. It was their seventh straight setback, their longest league losing streak since 2012.

Texas Tech led 33-28 at halftime and the game was tied at 50 until the Wildcats reeled off 10 straight points to take control.

Pop Isaacs and De’Vion Harmon scored 13 points each to lead the Red Raiders, who shot just 32.4 percent from the floor. Texas Tech has had halftime leads in three of its seven conference losses — all against ranked teams — and has not been able to finish.

“It’s a challenging time and as you can imagine we’re frustrated,” coach Mark Adams said. “Nobody is more frustrated than myself and our coaching staff and our players. Every game in the Big 12 is a just a knockdown, drag-out fight and we’ve been in every fight except one. We just got to start answering that bell the 11th and 12th rounds and finish the game.”

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