Texas Tech upsets No. 7 West Virginia in 2017
The first season for Beard in Lubbock was chalked full of close losses. Time and time again, his team could not come up with key plays in close games. That was also true in his most recent season.
But one instance in 2016-17 when Tech did push through for an important win came against No. 7 West Virginia in Lubbock. In the 77-76 OT thriller, forward Anthony Livingston hit a huge 3-pointer from the corner off of a brilliant assist from Niem Stevenson with just over four seconds to play to send the locals home happy.
It was one of only two 3-pointers the grad transfer made in five attempts that day. But sometimes, it isn’t how many you make, it is when you make them.
Tech had a balanced attack with four players in double digits. Forward Zach Smith paced the team with 15 points while Stevenson had 13 off the bench. Also, Keenan Evans matched Livingston’s 12 points.
This was one of only two significant victories of the Chris Beard debut tour. The other one we will discuss shortly.
But what this win helped to accomplish was to remind fans in Lubbock of just how fun high-stakes college basketball could be. Sure, there were some meaningful games towards the end of the Tubby Smith era but this game had a different feel because it signaled the start of something. And though we didn’t know at the time just how big that something would become, we did get a sense that Chris Beard was on his way towards building a program that we would be proud of.