MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) – Jaysean Paige was introduced on Senior Night at West Virginia as the “country’s best sixth man.” He certainly may be the Mountaineers’ best man in some time.
Paige and Daxter Miles Jr. each scored 15 points and No. 10 West Virginia closed out its home regular season on senior night Wednesday by trouncing Texas Tech 90-68.
Paige was honored pregame with fellow seniors Jonathan Holton and Richard Romeo III. He connected on 7 of 15 field goals, grabbed five rebounds and had five assists.
A sixth man, Paige was averaging a team-leading 14.3 points per game heading into this Big 12 conference game. No reserve has ever led the Mountaineers in scoring.
“It felt great,” Paige said of the introduction. “All the work I put in and it’s paying off. Just to be acknowledged for something like that in a conference like this means a lot. It builds you up, but you still got a lot to go. I’m just happy where I am and there’s still room to get better.”
Miles broke a slump which had seen him score just a total of 14 points in his last four games. He missed two games with a bad hamstring during the slump. Holton grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.
“I’ve just been hitting the gym. I’ve been working on my shot with Coach (Bob) Huggins,” said Miles.
The victory for the Mountaineers (23-7, 12-5) keeps them in sole possession of second place in the Big 12 with a game to go at No. 19 Baylor Saturday. No. 6 Oklahoma swept WVU this year and owns a tiebreaker if needed. The Sooners are 11-6 in the league and will visit TCU to close the season.
Justin Gray’s 15 points and Aaron Ross’ 14 led the Red Raiders (18-11, 8-9).
“I thought we were just manhandled tonight,” said Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith. “I thought our kids shot the ball OK, did some things well. We just couldn’t defend the post like we wanted to.”
WVU’s six conference wins represent its most ever in the Big 12, which it joined in 2012. Tech’s eight league wins are its most since 2006-07. Its 18 overall wins are the most since 2010.
The Mountaineers scored 12 straight points and led 36-22 with 2:41 to go in the first half. They finished the half ahead 41-26.
Tech shot 55 percent from the field, but WVU forced nine turnovers and outrebounded the visitors by 14. The Mountaineers were 12-0 on the offensive board.
West Virginia’s biggest lead came with 4:52 to go at 82-55.
Texas Tech made only three baskets during nearly seven minutes of the second half.
The Mountaineers enjoyed a 34-7 advantage in points off 19 Red Raider turnovers.
“I thought we were a lot more active,” Huggins said. “We try to speed people up to make them play a little faster than they want to play. … The pressure forces you to play faster than you want, or if you really slow it down, I think it’s to our advantage because you don’t have nearly as much time,” said Huggins.
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins picked up his 788th career win in 34 years. He trailed Coastal Carolina’s Cliff Ellis by one game for ninth place all-time coming into the Texas Tech game. Meanwhile, Texas Tech veteran coach Tubby Smith is 556-274 in 25 years.
West Virginia visits Baylor Saturday in its regular-season finale.
Texas Tech closes out the season with its own senior day Saturday against Kansas State.
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