Guards Terry Henderson and Eron Harris put on a shooting clinic, and TCU couldn’t keep pace in the second half as the Mountaineers ran away with a 63-50 victory at the Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
It was Henderson and Harris who led the charge in what was one of WVU’s best shooting performances in years. Henderson scored 17 points -- 15 of which came in the first half on an efficient 5-of-6 from the field. Harris added 14, making five of his 10 shots.
West Virginia (12-11, 5-5 Big 12) had gotten strong showings from the freshmen in recent weeks, but this may have been the first time both performed well in the same game. All told, WVU was 7-of-10 from 3-point range -- only the second time since 1997 a Mountaineer team had made 70 percent or more of its shots from beyond the arc.
“I know I’ve said this, but we’ve gotten a bunch of heat -- and rightfully so -- about guys not being able to make shots,” coach Bob Huggins told the Mountaineer Sports Network. “But we recruited the freshmen to be able to make shots. I think people are going to see those guys have a career and make a whole bunch of shots. Terry was very, very good today. Terry shot the lights out in practice yesterday.”
Player of the Game
TCU (10-13, 1-9) managed to keep pace through the first half thanks to torrid shooting of its own, as the Horned Frogs shot 60 percent in the first half and dominated the glass 16-5.
But the Mountaineers still went to halftime with a 31-28 lead thanks to a Jabarie Hinds 3-pointer just before the horn sounded to send the teams to the locker room.
While there, Huggins made adjustments that helped make all the difference. West Virginia went on an 11-2 run early in the second half, punctuated by a Harris 3-pointer, to take a 42-34 lead. With that edge in hand, Huggins had his team play a 2-3 zone defense -- something rarely employed by his Mountaineer teams -- and TCU never truly recovered.
The Horned Frogs finished only 36.2 percent from the field overall and 21.1 percent from beyond the arc.
“As you can imagine, that was the focus at halftime -- they’re 60 percent from the field, and you’re not going to win doing that obviously,” Huggins said. “I thought everything was better the second half. I thought defensively, it was better.
“I don’t know. I just did a TV thing, and they’re like, ‘Where did the 2-3 zone come from?’ I said it’s kind of like when you’re a kid playing sandlot football, and you’re drawing in the dirt -- you go here, you do this -- that’s kind of what it was, because we haven’t spent a lot of time on it. I wanted them to have to run clock.”
For the Mountaineers, Hinds also had an efficient game, as the sophomore scored 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the field. He added four assists. Deniz Kilicli registered another eight points.
All told, WVU had 17 assists on 22 made baskets. The team’s 51.2 percent performance from the floor was its fourth-best of the season.
“That’s the kind of stat line we came to expect because of the motion,” Huggins said. “Everybody has an opportunity to pass it. We did a better job curling, obviously did a better job finishing around the basket on the curls.”
For TCU, guard Kyan Anderson scored a team-high 16 points. Forward Connell Crossland added another 13 -- seven of which came at the free throw line. Forward Garland Green, the Horned Frogs’ leading scorer coming into the game, was held to only three points on 1-of-12 shooting.
For Huggins, it was a much-needed victory in his 1,000th game as a head coach. He is now 722-278 overall, still the third-winningest active coach in the game.
“I’ve been fortunate to have great assistant coaches. I’ve had great loyalty from assistant coaches,” Huggins said. “I’ve had great players, great people. I think the loyalty thing and the way we all feel about each other is the most important thing.
“When you get guys who played for me at Akron coming back to watch games in Morgantown, and you get the Cincinnati guys back obviously -- you’ve seen those guys, from Kenyon Martin to Nick Van Exel to whoever. That’s, at the end of the day, that’s the best thing about it.”