Sean McNeil Outduels Mac McClung as No. 14 West Virginia Upsets No. 7 Texas Tech

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 10, 2021

West Virginia's Sean McNeil (22) controls the ball against Texas Tech's Kyler Edwards (11) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lubbock, Texas, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Justin Rex)
Justin Rex/Associated Press

Second place in the Big 12 behind Baylor is up for grabs, and the No. 14 West Virginia Mountaineers notched a critical victory in a Top 15 showdown.

West Virginia defeated the No. 7 Texas Tech Red Raiders 82-71 at United Supermarkets Arena on Tuesday. Sean McNeil, Miles McBride and Derek Culver led the way for the Mountaineers, who improved to 14-5 overall and 7-3 in conference play with their third consecutive win.

The Red Raiders saw their three-game winning streak come to an end despite a solid showing from Mac McClung and fell to 14-6 overall and 6-5 in the Big 12.

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Run. It. Back. #HailWV https://t.co/zZM88Hz3vy


Notable Player Stats

  • Sean McNeil, G, WV: 26 PTS, 5-of-7 3PT
  • Miles McBride, G, WV: 20 PTS, 4 AST, 3 REB
  • Derek Culver, F, WV: 15 PTS, 8 REB
  • Mac McClung, G, TT: 17 PTS, 4 REB, 2 AST


West Virginia Trio Leads Way in Impressive Road Win

Something has to give whenever West Virginia and Texas Tech face each other.

The Mountaineers entered play as the No. 14 offense in Ken Pomeroy's pace-adjusted rankings, while the Red Raiders started the game as the No. 11 defense. It was the balanced West Virginia offense that features four players averaging double figures that won the first matchup with 88 points in a victory.

Things figured to be a little more difficult this time around with Taz Sherman sidelined, but his replacement in the starting lineup wasted no time making an impact.

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This man is feelin’ it! @SeanMcNeil22 #HailWV https://t.co/3toVrrVw8e

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Live look at @SeanMcNeil22 🔥🔥 #HailWV https://t.co/Npl5j3EviH

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U16 timeout | 15:48 WVU 13, Texas Tech 6 Dating back to the last game with Tech, WVU made 15 consecutive shots (10 two weeks ago and first five tonight). #HailWV https://t.co/yik4ktAYaG

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Sean McNeil (@SeanMcNeil22) with No. 5️⃣ from beyond the arc! #HailWV https://t.co/6KbZCqBdme

McNeil poured in 15 points in the first half alone with red-hot shooting from the outside, which also helped make up for a slow start from leading scorer McBride. The burst from McNeil and the typical production from Culver was enough to help the visitors put up 40 points in the opening half and seize momentum with a six-point lead.

That momentum came to a screeching halt when Culver picked up his fourth foul with more than 14 minutes left.

The offense was slightly more stagnant without him down low, although McBride picked up his play and was much more aggressive while seeking out shots. His ability to get to the rim kept the Mountaineers ahead for much of the second half, and he responded with a three and an assist when they temporarily lost it around the eight-minute mark.

West Virginia also made all the key plays down the stretch, including a clutch three from McNeil to push the lead to five, an and-1 from Culver when he returned to the lineup and important free throws from McBride.

That formula was enough for a head-turning win on the road.


Texas Tech Collapses Down the Stretch

McClung is under the spotlight every time Texas Tech takes the court, but that was especially the case Tuesday.

After all, he poured in 30 points in the first matchup against the Mountaineers but missed what would have been the game-winning jumper in the final second after McBride put West Virginia ahead with six seconds remaining on the other end.

Still, it was hard to blame the Red Raiders playmaker during a stretch that saw him score 22 or more points in five of his previous six games. It was more of the same out of the gates in Tuesday's rematch, as the guard was in double figures by halftime while finding his stroke from outside and working into openings in the lane.

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.@McclungMac has 15 points after hitting his third 3-pointer of the game. WVU 56, TTU 54 (2H, 10:05) https://t.co/20jdiIgLiU

The home team needed McClung's initial production to stay within striking distance in the first half with West Virginia's quick start, but some of the balanced scoring came as the game continued.

Terrence Shannon Jr. and Jamarius Burton provided a spark off the bench, while Kyler Edwards and Kevin McCullar took advantage of the space playing alongside McClung creates by slashing into openings.

It set the stage for a dramatic finish, but the Red Raiders were not up to the task.

They managed just one field goal in the final five minutes, McClung fouled out with 1:03 remaining after missing a three while down four and head coach Chris Beard was ejected with 23.5 seconds left. It was a brutal finish in a winnable game for Texas Tech.


What's Next?

West Virginia hosts Oklahoma on Saturday, while Texas Tech travels to face TCU on Monday.