Men's Basketball, WVU Sports

NOTEBOOK: After four guys fouled out, West Virginia not looking to blame refs for loss to No. 18 Texas Tech

MORGANTOWN — By the end of its 78-65 loss against No. 18 Texas Tech on Saturday, West Virginia nearly had as many players foul out of the game as it had guys playing on the floor.

Jalen Bridges, Pauly Paulicap, Malik Curry and Gabe Osabuohien had all fouled out, the result of the Mountaineers getting whistled for 30 personal fouls.

“We’ve got to play through it,” WVU guard Taz Sherman said. “We’re in the Power Five, so we’ve got to play through all the touchy fouls and non-calls. It’s hard for players sometimes, but you have to control what you can control. Contact is going to happen. It’s a contact game.”

Twenty-five of Texas Tech’s points came from the foul line and the Red Raiders attempted 36 free throws.

That’s the most against West Virginia since Florida shot 46 in a game at Madison Square Garden in 2018, in another game where WVU was called for 30 fouls.

Against Texas Tech, which was called for 20 fouls, Sherman said he expected a more physical style of game.

“In a conference game like this, especially when you have two teams known to have a stigma about their team — we’re a defensive team and they’re a defensive team — you know it’s going to be a hard-fought battle,” Sherman said. “You can’t really get on (the referees) too much.”

Battle of the boards

Texas Tech out-rebounded WVU, 39-29, and the Red Raiders grabbed 17 offensive rebounds.

It’s the second-most offensive rebounds WVU has allowed this season, with Oakland grabbing 20 in the season-opener.

“It’s not just on all of the bigs, let me say that first,” Sherman said. “The guards have to help the bigs rebound, because we don’t have a Derek Culver or an Oscar Tshiebwe anymore. We have to find ways to team rebound.”

Texas Tech’s offensive rebounds only turned into nine second-chance points, but the Red Raiders were able to get up seven more shots than WVU for the game.

“When (Texas Tech) made their run, we just give people way too many shots,” WVU head coach Bob Huggins said. “You’ve got to want to do it. You’ve got to care. We’ve got some guys who do that and we’ve got some guys, if they’re doing it, it’s disguised very well.”

Shooting woes

WVU guard Sean McNeil, who was coming off a 17-point game against Baylor, struggled with his shot against Texas Tech.

The senior scored seven points on 2 of 7 shooting. He missed all three of his 3-point attempts.

Huggins credited Texas Tech’s defense for some of that.

“That could happen the rest of the year,” he said, noting teams are going to focus on McNeil.

News and notes

** Texas Tech improved to 12-0 at home this season.

** WVU finished with just six assists, it’s second-lowest output of the season. The lowest came in last Saturday’s loss against Kansas, when the Mountaineers had five.

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