KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For a heart-stopping half-second, Dejan Kravic thought he was too late. Then, just after the ball dropped through the bucket, the buzzer sounded. Texas Tech, after squandering a 14-point lead, had a 71-69 victory over West Virginia in the opening round Wednesday night of the Big 12 tournament.
“It’s a 40-minute game, so play for the last second,” said Kravic. “I saw the ball come toward me. I thought the clock expired, so I just put it up.”
The 6-foot-11 Kravic got in front of the West Virginia big men and rebounded Josh Gray’s desperation shot, setting up the Red Raiders (11-19) for a second-round match with Big 12 regular-season champion No. 7 Kansas on Thursday.
Kravic could not remember ever getting a buzzer-beater before.
“You see it happen on TV. You never expect it to happen to you. I let out all my emotions in the locker room,” said Kravic, who totaled 10 points. “I don’t have any emotions left.”
The Red Raiders, who lost twice to West Virginia in the regular season, gave up a 14-point lead in the first half but managed to hold on for only their second victory all year away from home.
“I would rather be lucky than good,” said Texas Tech interim head coach Chris Walker. “We end up being the beneficiary of a put-back, which is great, which is rare for us, which is really good.”
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Myck Kabongo finally returned from his suspension, everything changed for Texas.
Its rotations. Its offensive execution. Its defensive tenacity. The outcome of games, too.
Kabongo had 16 points and six assists Wednesday night, leading Texas on a big second half run in a 70-57 win over TCU that sent the Longhorns into the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament.
The victory also gave the No. 7 seed Longhorns (16-16) three straight wins for the first time since early December, when Kabongo was in the midst of a 23-game benching handed down by the NCAA for receiving improper benefits, and set up a date Thursday night with No. 11 Kansas State.
“There’s no doubt, put it rust, feel, whatever — he’s played nine games this year. He sat for a long time,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said of his sophomore guard. “I do think we’re figuring some things out with a full rotation. We never got to do that in practice with Myck.”
It couldn’t have come at a better time for the Longhorns, which still need to win three more games at the Sprint Center to reach the NCAA tournament for the 15th straight year.
“They’re a dangerous team right now,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. “If anybody is capable of winning three more games here, it’s them.”