LUBBOCK, Texas -- West Virginia started fast and ended faster Saturday afternoon at the United Spirit Center.
The ugliness that transpired in the middle? Well, all in all it didn't matter.
West Virginia beat Texas Tech here 77-61 Saturday at the beginning of what amounts to a make-or-break stretch of the season where the Mountaineers have to win games or risk missing the postseason all together.
And afterward, coach Bob Huggins seemed, well, as happy as a coach might be who just watched his team play as poorly as it can and as well as it can, all in one 40-minute stretch.
"There are a lot of things these guys have shown me,'' Huggins said, "that I never thought I'd see.''
How poorly? Well, the Mountaineers turned the ball over 18 times, including 10 in the first 12 minutes of the game. They had another stretch during the early part of the final 10 minutes when they lost the ball on four of seven possessions.
And how well? Well, even while turning the ball over time and again early in the game, West Virginia still managed to build a 6-point lead. Of course, it helped that Texas Tech was even worse, managing just five shots in the game's first eight minutes, at one point going seven straight possessions without getting the ball to the rim (five turnovers, a blocked layup and a foul).
In the end, the difference was -- and this is perhaps the most unusual part of WVU's win -- the Mountaineers shot the lights out. They made 10 of their 18 3-pointers, shot 56.5 percent overall, made 65 percent of their shots in the second half and made virtually every important shot they took.
"Every play we ran, we either scored or went to the line,'' point guard Juwan Staten said, referring specifically to a late-game run that turned a four-point lead into a 14-point bulge and proved the difference. "That's the way we're supposed to run offense. And we did.''
The win snaps a two-game losing streak for West Virginia, which had lost five of six. The Mountaineers (10-11, 3-5 Big 12) are still below .500 with 10 games to play in the regular season, but this was the first of a string of games (four in five) in which they face teams that are also near the bottom of league.