KANSAS CITY, Mo.–With six seconds left, Daxter Miles Jr. jumped up and stole Zhaire Smith’s intended pass before drawing the foul and helping No. 3-seeded West Virginia fend off No. 2 Texas Tech 66-63 on Friday in the Big 12 Championship semifinal.
The Mountaineers (24-9, 11-7 Big 12) are making their third appearance in three years in the championship game.
“It means everything at this point,” Miles said. “Just gotta be ready to play.”
Trailing 65-61, Keenan Evans’ jump shot pulled the Red Raiders (24-9, 11-7) within two with 56 seconds remaining. After several misses, Texas Tech got a chance to tie the game or take the lead but Miles intercepted Zhaire Smith’s pass. Miles made one free throw.
Niem Stevenson threw up a desperation half-court shot but it wasn’t enough.
Miles scored 22 points on 5-of-9 shooting from long range. Jevon Carter picked up 17 points on 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc. Sagaba Konate added 11 points and Wesley Harris had seven points and seven rebounds.
Jarrett Culver had 16 points for the Red Raiders. Keenan Evans chipped in 13 points and Stevenson 11.
WVU forced 10 turnovers and had five steals.
“When you play three games in three days, it’s hard to play the way we play three days like that but it’s also hard for them to play against it,” head coach Bob Huggins said. “We just backed off because we wanted to guard the half-court and try and make em’ run some clock. Not put them at the foul line. ”
Texas Tech had a 38-32 edge on the glass.
The Mountaineers had eight blocks, matching its best Big 12 Championship performance in 2013 against the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech jumped out to a 15-6 lead but WVU used a 9-0 run to tie the game at 15-15 on a layup by Beetle Bolden.
With 6:17 remaining in the first half, Zach Smith’s dunk gave the Red Raiders a 23-17 lead. However, the Mountaineers got a pair of 3s from Wesley Harris and Miles, a free throw from Esa Ahmad and a trey from Carter to take a 27-23 lead with 2:05 left.
Texas Tech pulled within 27-26 on a 3-pointer from Davide Moretti with 36 seconds to go.
WVU shot 40 percent from the field, 50 percent from beyond the arc and 63 percent from the charity stripe.
The Red Raiders shot 45 percent from the floor, 40 percent from 3-point range and 52 percent from the line.
The Mountaineers get another shot at No.1 Kansas on Saturday in the Big 12 Championship. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. (ET).
Cover Photo Credit: Ashley O’Brien, BGS