Closing out games in Big 12 Conference play has been one of the many issues that has plagued a young Red Raider basketball team into a 2-5 start in league play this season entering Saturday's meeting with West Virginia.
With six minutes and 27 seconds left in the game, the Red Raiders cut a Mountaineer lead, which was as large as 12 at one point, down to just four, 59-55, and they seemed to be within reach of at least tying the game.
Despite the momentum spurred from a small run, the Mountaineers were able to put together their own run and just a few minutes later West Virginia (10-11, 3-5 Big 12 play) was walking out of the United Spirit Arena with a 16-point victory, 77-61.
"Yeah, when the game is over we are kind of shocked," Texas Tech senior guard Ty Nurse said, "we just kind of let it slip, let the ball turnover too much. During those times it's crunch time, so every possession matters a lot so, we just let it slip."
Tech (9-10, 2-6) had West Virginia head Coach, Bob Huggins, in not so great a mood when the game was over.
After winning the game, the common perception is there would be more positive energy radiating out of Huggins, but instead he seemed disappointed with how the game turned out.
"There's a lot of things that these guys have shown me that I never thought I'd ever see," Huggins said. "I mean we just do such bone head things and you know, we kind of had the game going the way we wanted and we just kept throwing the ball to them. We had ten turnovers within 14 or 12 minutes maybe, 12 minutes to go in the first half. We just continually do things to kinda' shoot ourselves in the foot."
Tech interim head coach Chris Walker on the other hand, while feeling that although West Virginia did make shots, which they have been struggling with all season, they had an opportunity to win the game.
The first-year interim head coach approached the loss as a learning experience, and the outlook of his players reflects that.
Nurse, who finished the game with a team-high 14 point on 3-for-4 night from the field and 6-for-6 mark at the charity stripe, said the team learns from these type of games and applies the lessons learned to future contests.
"We do have some young guys," said Nurse, "but they're good and they're going to learn from this and hopefully down the road. When we are in situations like this again, we won't make the same mistake."
The start for the Red Raiders was not ideal, they were slow to the start and began digging themselves into a hole that they had to come back from, but once they did that, they gave up turnovers, which Walker describes, as their Achilles heel.
"It just comes a time where we have to be sure and get past those tough times or we'll just throw the ball to the other team and there are turnovers that we just can't recover from, and we just have to keep working at it."
Next for Red Raider basketball is their first meeting with nationally ranked Kansas State, No. 18 in recent Associated Press poll, game against No. 18 Kansas State on Tuesday at 7:00pm in the United Spirit Arena.