Texas Tech's previous abilities to protect the ball proved futile against relentless pressure from the No. 10 Mountaineers (23-7, 12-5), as WVU got exactly the formula it wanted to win and remain in second place in the Big 12 with a lone regular season game remaining. First, the 19 Tech turnovers led to 34 points,the most for WVU in conference play this season. Second, the team shared the ball incredibly well, with 22 assists on 34 made baskets. And third, the scoring was as balanced as at any time this season, with Daxter Miles and Jaysean Paige going for 15 points each, while Nathan Adrian and Tarik Phillip finished with 13 apiece.
If you're scoring at home, that's two starters and two "reserves," used only in the most definitive of meanings. Add in Jonathan Holton's 11 rebounds - off the bench, no less - and the same number of total team steals to go with it, and the Mountaineers were able to wring everything they wanted out of the last home game for three seniors, including when Richard Romeo hit a jumper from near the baseline with 2:19 left that put an exclamation on the 90-68 blowout. Both Holton and Paige had been removed just seconds earlier to a standing ovation, and that left Romeo as the one holdout who hadn't had his moment.
But the White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. native delivered, finishing the game with a perfect stat line of one shot, one made field goal, and two points in three minutes. What was even better was that teammate and personal friend Devin Williams went shot hunting late for the reserve, who had taken just two previous shots this season, and 11 in his entire career.Williams made sure that became a dozen, and sprung Romeo open for the jump shot. Miles, above, talks about that effort and the scoring and on-floor leadership of Paige, as well as his own work from the perimeter, where he hit 5-of-10 three-pointers in the game.
Romeo and Holton, below, delve into their own performances, with Romeo noting he was just glad his shot went in. The guard also speaks to his own feelings when being introduced for his final home game, and what it has meant to play for the state's flagship program and universty for four seasons.
Holton, meanwhile, gives major credit to Romeo for gritting out the hours-long practices and staying the full time even with a lack of floor minutes. Holton said that he respects that aspect of a person, and that Romeo deserves the points, and the accolades from the crowd he received when the shot found the bottom of the netting.