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6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET2:00 PM GMT10:00 PM 北京时间7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST, Feb 4, 2019
United Supermarkets Arena, Lubbock, Texas  Attendance: 12,831

West Virginia-Texas Tech Preview

Different motivations add some spice to every Big 12 Conference basketball game, and the second matchup this season between 18th-ranked Texas Tech and West Virginia doesn't figure to be any different.

When the Mountaineers (10-12, 2-7) and Red Raiders (17-5, 5-4) tangle in Lubbock, Texas on Monday evening, there will be plenty of inspiration to go around.

For Texas Tech, the fire in the belly should be two-fold: Erase the distaste left from a lopsided loss at Kansas on Saturday, which ties into the second - stay in contention for the top spot in the Big 12 standings.

The Mountaineers are coming at the rest of the league season from another direction. A 79-71 win at home against Oklahoma was just the second in Big 12 play for WVU, which stumbled to an 0-5 start.

Now, though, with a dash of confidence brewing, the Mountaineers can realistically think about making a push for an NIT spot. And a road win over a team that narrowly escaped Morgantown with a 62-59 decision on Jan. 2 would be a perfect piece of that puzzle.

"Imagine if we had got this rolling from the beginning," said WVU big man Derek Culver, who made his first career start memorable with 13 points and 14 rebounds against the Sooners. "But you know, it's never too late."

Which team finds some offensive rhythm will be a big storyline Monday in a matchup of contrasting approaches.

The Mountaineers stuck close to the Red Raiders in the previous meeting despite 22 turnovers that led to 27 Texas Tech points. They won the rebound battle 41-31, with 11 offensive boards generating 14 second-chance points.

In the win against Oklahoma, West Virginia dominated the glass 46-30 and produced 27 second-chance points.

Solving the Red Raiders' sticky defense will be vital for the Mountaineers. Despite a tough outing against Kansas, Texas Tech continues to lead the Big 12 in field-goal defense (36.6 percent) and 3-point defense (27.5 percent), while WVU is the conference's worst shooting team (42.1 percent).

When the teams met in January, the Mountaineers made just 5 of 19 attempts from 3-point range. By contrast, Kansas was 13-for-30 on Saturday.

That was just a small part of what went wrong for the Raiders in a tough setback. The Jayhawks led by 20 points at halftime and expanded that advantage to 24 late in the game. Kansas shot 45.8 percent overall (27 of 59).

"No disrespect to their shooters, but I thought our defense had a lot to do with the open looks they were getting," Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. "We were getting driven, held up all over the place, and they were making the extra pass."

The Red Raiders could use a boost from leading scorer Jarrett Culver, who has scuffled recently.

Kansas limited Culver to 10 points, his second lowest scoring output this season, on 5-for-17 shooting. He has finished the last two games a combined 0-for-12 from 3-point territory.

Not that Culver was the only Red Raider who struggled against Kansas: Texas Tech shot just 34.4 percent (22 of 64) and spent much of the game settling for perimeter shots (28 3-point attempts) instead of finding a path to the goal.

West Virginia could make that troublesome as well. The Mountaineers have traded their signature pressing attack for a 3-2 zone, which gave Oklahoma fits.

"I feel like we disguised our 3-2, which put them in a funk a little bit," Derek Culver said. "Once we did that, that kind of sped them up a little bit. Our 3-2 really confused them."

--Field Level Media

Updated February 4, 2019

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