Brandone Francis scored a season-high 16 points and No. 18 Texas Tech overwhelmed cold-shooting West Virginia 81-50 on Monday night.
The Red Raiders (18-5, 6-4 Big 12), who lost four of their previous five Big 12 games, took control with a 13-0 run midway through the first half. That was part of a longer stretch during which the Mountaineers missed 11 consecutive shots during a span of more than 15 minutes.
West Virginia (10-13, 2-8) finished with only nine made field goals, the fewest ever for a Big 12 team and matching North Carolina State’s total in a 47-24 loss to Virginia Tech on Saturday for the fewest by any team in a game this season. The Mountaineers were 9-of-39 (23 percent) shooting overall, and made 29 free throws.
Freshman Derek Culver had 15 free throws among his 23 points for WVU.
That early scoring spurt put the Red Raiders ahead for the first time — and to stay. After Matt Mooney’s two free throws tied the game at 14-all, Norense Odiase had a putback slam. Odiase first grabbed an offensive rebound between three defenders, passed outside and was still underneath for another rebound on a miss by Francis.
Texas Tech had a double-digit lead for good after Francis had a backcourt steal, drove and cut between two leaping defenders while switching the ball to his right hand and making a layup while falling away from the basket. Jarrett Culver got the next points when he swished a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to make it 32-18.
Culver finished with 12 points, while Davide Moretti had 11 and Deshawn Corprew 10. Odiase had nine points and 10 rebounds.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers were coming off a home win over Oklahoma, but lost their third road game in 10 days. This matched their worst Big 12 loss since joining the league seven years ago. They also had a 31-point loss (98-67) at TCU last month.
Texas Tech: After dropping two more spots in the new AP poll earlier Monday — they had been No. 8 in the poll three weeks ago — the Red Raiders got a big Monday win for the second week in a row, with a loss at No. 13 Kansas in between. Tech shot 53 percent from the field (30 of 57), even while missing its last eight shots and not scoring in the final 5 minutes.
West Virginia junior forward Logan Routt was ejected from the game early in the second half while sitting on the bench. Officials looked at replay to determine that Routt intentionally tripped Mooney when he was trying to get back on the court after trying to block a shot near the WVU sideline. Routt never got in the game.
West Virginia returns home to play Texas on Saturday. The Mountaineers then have a week off before going to Kansas, which lost at West Virginia on Jan. 19.
Texas Tech plays at Oklahoma on Saturday.