Terrence Shannon, Jr. found his confidence, or at least his aggressive nature back.
The 6-foot-6 wing, who's been working his way into the rotation and starting lineup with a lingering back issue, seemed to figure things out Saturday morning against a physical West Virginia squad.
Shannon scored 10 points in the first half, ending with a season-best 23 points, to help the No. 18 Red Raiders fend off the Mountaineers with a 78-65 triumph inside United Supermarkets Arena.
"It felt good," Shannon said of his return to the lineup. "I wouldn't say I'm all the way back. I'm still finding my rhythm within the game. Coach Darryl (Dora, direct of player development) has been on me hard, just saying let the game come to me. And I feel I did a better job at it this game."
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With the victory, Texas Tech (15-4, 5-2) won its second straight game and stayed undefeated in 12 home contests by downing West Virginia (13-5, 2-4) which is now on a three-game losing skid.
Under the 10-minute mark of the second half, both teams were knotted up at 48 before the Red Raiders found some offense.
Shannon, who had been quiet in the second half, poured in a pair of free throws to spark a 5-0 run in which all points came from the charity stripe on the way to a 53-48 advantage with 7:59 left to play.
Taz Sherman made things interesting by going on a person 6-0 run to give West Virginia the 54-53 lead at the 6:21 mark before the Red Raiders responded.
Shannon drove to the left side of the basket, made the layup and converted the three-point play before capping off a 9-2 offensive surge en route to a 62-56 lead that carried to under the four-minute mark.
The Chicago native, who netted his first double-digit effort since turning in a double-double in an overtime win over No. 13 Tennessee, drained another 3-pointer to put the lead at a game-best nine points (65-56) on the way to a close finish.
Sherman ended the game with a team-best 21 points, while Malik Curry chipped in 11 points off the bench for West Virginia — which had Jalen Bridges, Gabe Osabuohien, Pauly Paulicap and Curry foul out late in the second half.
Kevin Obanor added 18 points and Bryson Williams poured in 13 to round out the double-digit scorers for the Red Raiders. Williams is averaging 15 points per game in Big 12 play and finished in double figures in all 12 league contests.
"We didn't play that well defensively," Shannon said. "We missed a lot of block-outs and they got a lot of offensive rebounds. But, we got the win, so we'd rather have the win than the loss and learn from our win."
Texas Tech coach Mark Adams agreed.
"Anytime you play a coach (Bob) Huggins team, you know you're in for a fight. We called it a war," said Adams, whose team outscored the Mountaineers 30 to 16 in the paint. "We told our guys to be ready and that it was going to be a war in the paint. They're just so tough and resilient. They're always going to be in the game. ... We won the game, but the guys didn't feel like it. They were so tired and frustrated. We're just glad we got through it. It was a big win for us."
At the start of the game, the Mountaineers and Red Raiders were locked into a defensive struggle as both squads were looking to establish a spot in the paint.
After the score was knotted at 7-7 and 9-9, Shannon went on a personal 5-0 run to provide Texas Tech a 14-9 advantage at the 13:22 mark of the first half.
The Mountaineers never let the lead go beyond two possessions — taking a 16-15 lead before the game was tied at 21-21 — before the Red Raiders built up the lead to several possessions.
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Williams started things off by draining a three-pointer from the top of the key which was followed by Shannon draining a pair of free throws toward a 33-25 advantage with 2:42 left before the break.
West Virginia forged a 9-1 offensive surge to knot things up at 34-all before Williams knocked down a pair of free throws to give Texas Tech a 36-34 lead as both squads headed into their respective locker rooms.
The second half would be a back-and-forth trudge once again.
"It was nice," Shannon said of playing against a physical West Virginia team. "They were tough. I feel like we did a good job responding in the second half and we pulled out the win."
No. 18 Texas Tech is scheduled to take on No. 7 Kansas (16-2, 5-1) in an 8 p.m. Monday contest at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas. The contest is set to be broadcast on ESPN.
West Virginia is slated to host Oklahoma (12-7, 2-5) at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
NO. 18 TEXAS TECH 78, WEST VIRGINIA 65
WEST VIRGINIA (13-5, 2-4)
Bridges 2-4 2-2 8, Cottrell 1-4 0-0 2, Ke.Johnson 1-3 2-2 4, McNeil 2-7 3-4 7, Sherman 8-15 3-3 21, Curry 2-7 7-7 11, Osabuohien 0-3 0-2 0, Paulicap 3-4 1-2 7, Carrigan 1-3 0-0 2, Ko.Johnson 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 21-52 18-22 65.
TEXAS TECH (15-4, 5-2)
Obanor 6-12 6-6 18, Williams 4-8 3-5 13, McCullar 1-7 5-8 7, Shannon 7-12 6-7 23, Warren 3-9 1-4 7, Arms 1-7 0-0 2, Santos-Silva 1-3 2-2 4, M.Wilson 0-0 1-2 1, Batcho 1-1 0-0 2, Nadolny 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 24-59 25-36 78.
Halftime_Texas Tech 36-34. 3-Point Goals_West Virginia 5-15 (Bridges 2-4, Sherman 2-4, Ko.Johnson 1-2, Cottrell 0-1, Curry 0-1, McNeil 0-3), Texas Tech 5-20 (Shannon 3-7, Williams 2-3, Arms 0-2, Obanor 0-4, Warren 0-4). Fouled Out_Bridges, Curry, Osabuohien, Paulicap. Rebounds_West Virginia 25 (Osabuohien 6), Texas Tech 35 (Warren, Arms 6). Assists_West Virginia 6 (Sherman, Curry 2), Texas Tech 13 (McCullar 4). Total Fouls_West Virginia 30, Texas Tech 20.
This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Shannon, Jr. regains form, Texas Tech basketball defeats West Virginia