Henderson leads WVU past Raiders
MORGANTOWN – West Virginia gained some of its confidence back Wednesday night.
The Mountaineers shot nearly 70 percent in the second half, 55 percent overall from 3, and completed a season sweep of Texas Tech with an 87-81 victory at the WVU Coliseum.
The win snaps a three game losing streak for the Mountaineers, who improve to 11-8 overall and 3-3 in Big 12 play.
“We’re back to where we need to be,” Mountaineers guard Eron Harris said. “That was a confidence builder game. Hopefully we can bring it to the next game and let it flow.”
West Virginia came out of the opening gates hot and jumped out to a 20-10 lead, connecting on its first six shots from 3.
Suddenly that fire seemed to die out as WVU was held scoreless for nearly five and a half minutes as Texas Tech (10-9, 2-4) went on a 16-0 run to take a 26-20 lead halfway through the first.
The Red Raiders’ big run was fueled by Dusty Hannahs, who made three 3s during that stretch. He finished with 25 points, six assists and went a perfect 7 of 7 from behind arc.
“He’s a great shooter,” WVU guard Terry Henderson said. “He got a lot better from last year. When guys are shooting like that, you want to do your best to kinda match them. It’s hard to do that. You have to stay focused and run the offense and get good shots. I mainly tired to do that (Wednesday).”
Whether Henderson was trying to match Hannahs’ offensive production or not, he did.
The sophomore, who is averaging 11.6 points per game, finished 10 of 13 for a game-high 28 points.
“I knew we needed this win and I did everything I could to help my team,” Henderson said. “I just tried to come out early and be aggressive. That was the main thing, especially after last game. I had a bad game against Kansas State and just wanted to respond.”
Ten of those points came in the first four minutes of the second after the Mountaineers went into halftime up one, 40-39.
Henderson’s spurt, which included two of his five 3s, helped WVU take a 54-45 advantage with 16:26 remaining.
A Hannahs 3 cut West Virginia’s lead to 59-57, but it would be as close as the Red Raiders would get as the Mountaineers went on a 19-7 run to earn their largest lead of the game at 80-67.
“This is one of our best team wins,” said Harris, who finished with 15 points on 50 percent shooting.
Juwan Staten finished with 16 points, 11 coming in the second half, to go with seven assists and five rebounds.
“I’m just happy with the way we were scoring,” Staten said. “If I have to come out and be extra aggressive from the start and score a lot of points to get us in it, then that’s what I’ll do. If I can just sit back and kinda control the game and make sure the shooters are getting the shots they need and we’re scoring points, then I’m fine with that, too.”
Morgantown High product Nathan Adrian ended his night with 10 points and showed his range with three 3s.
“When you can play Nate on the perimeter, they have to guard him,” WVU coach Bob Huggins said. “That spreads them out. That’s what we thought Nate and (junior) Remi (Dibo) could do for us.
“I thought that Nate would make some shots because he’s worked at it.”
The victory moves the Mountaineers into fourth place in the Big 12. Eight of their next nine opponents are ranked in the Top 25, starting with No. 11 Oklahoma State on Saturday.