“Both teams played really hard and right down to the last 45 seconds, either team still had a chance to win the ballgame,” Knight said. “As always is the case, one team makes a couple plays and the other team doesn’t and that ends up being the difference.”
D’or Fischer added a free throw in the final seconds.
Knight, in his fourth season at Texas Tech, was in the regional semifinals for the first time since 1994 with Indiana, the school he coached to three national titles before a messy divorce in September 2000. Knight’s 854 career wins are 25 shy of Dean Smith’s NCAA Division I record (879).
Pittsnogle, who hit 7 of 13 shots, also had eight rebounds. Mike Gansey scored 11 and Patrick Beilein scored 10.
Ronald Ross led Texas Tech with 16 points, but had four of the Red Raiders’ 16 turnovers.
Ross, whom Knight has called one of his favorite players, took the brunt of Knight’s frequent outbursts in a game marked by tenacious defense and plenty of contact inside and on the perimeter.
“From what I could see, both teams made it relatively difficult for the other, to do what they wanted to do offensively,” Knight said.
The tough-love approach worked. Ross, who hit just 3 of 11 shots in the first half, kept the Red Raiders in the game with three steals, all of which he converted into one-handed slams.
“Whoever he was covering was having problems,” John Beilein said.
The Mountaineers, who hit nine 3s in a 111-105 double-overtime win over Wake Forest in the second round, hit six of their first nine 3s in this one, including four straight to take a 22-14 lead with 12:03 left in the first half. Gansey hit three and Beilein the other.
They were still up by seven when Patrick Beilein scored with 9:13 left, but the Mountaineers then went scoreless for nearly 7 minutes.
It stayed tight through the second half, and in the end, West Virginia made the plays to keep its unexpectedly long season going.
“We’re not one of those powerhouses — Duke or North Carolina — yet,” Patrick Beilein said. “We like being under the radar. We just got hot at the right time.”
Notes: Knight stayed stuck on 45 NCAA tournament wins, two behind John Wooden, who is third on the career list. ... Giles and Pittsnogle turned the game’s first 4½ minutes into a one-on-one shootout. Giles had all 10 of the Red Raiders’ points over that stretch and Pittsnogle scored the Mountaineers’ first seven.
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