WVU basketball went on the road Saturday for a conference match up against the Horned Frogs from TCU. Fighting for a possible tournament bid, Texas Christian gave the Mountaineers everything they could handle.
It was all too familiar watching Bob Huggins and the Mountaineers struggle to pull away from an inferior opponent. That’s no intended shade for TCU, they played an excellent game. But they are what their record says they are, and that’s 17-12, good for 7th in the Big 12.
The 23-6 Mountaineers, however, are tied for 2nd in the conference after narrowly escaping TCU, 61-60.
Jevon Carter paced the ‘Eers with 15 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals in 37 minutes. Nathan Adrian played a team-high 38 minutes and was the only other ‘Eer in double figures with 13; Adrian led WVU with eight rebounds and also dished out five assists.
After blitzing out to a 16-7 lead, the Horned Frogs’ freshman guard Jaylen Fisher got comfortable with the pressure and settled his team down. He scored 13 points in the 1st half alone and assisted on three other shots that resulted in seven points. He finished with 18 points in 38 minutes, but his six turnovers were a major factor in helping Huggins’ team.
On a day the Mountaineers didn’t shoot the ball particularly well from anywhere, they only committed 11 turnovers. TCU on the other hand struggled, ending with 21 total turnovers. One thing they did do is get the front court for WVU in foul trouble, though.
Both Elijah Macon and Brandon Watkins dealt with fouls, but neither fouled out. The front-court rotation was a bit shorter than usual with the absence of Esa Ahmad; he didn’t make the trip due to a back injury. Macon’s been on a tear lately, scoring at least eight points in five consecutive games.. It seems like every time the ball goes to him in the post, he’s digging into his bag of tricks and putting one to the test. His soft touch around the hoop is unexpected, but it makes his bank-shot an incredible weapon.
He scored eight points and had five rebounds Saturday, and all five boards came on the offensive glass. Four of Adrian’s eight came at the offensive end too, pushing the team total to 17. While TCU had the greater number of total rebounds with 38, they only managed nine on offense. If West Virginia can keep pumping out these types of numbers on the glass, they’ll be a tough out for anybody come tournament time.
Teyvon Myers came off the bench for eight points and three big steals against the Horned Frogs. Daxter Miles Jr. started in place of Ahmad, but only scored three points. One particular point of his was essential. With five ticks left on the clock, Miles hit the front-end of a one-and-one to put WVU up 61-60. After TCU came down and threw up an air-ball, the horn sounded and it was over. The Mountaineers escaped with a victory.
WVU plays at No. 9 Baylor on Monday and closes out the regular season Friday at the Coliseum versus Iowa State. A strong push to close the regular season should be a perfect primer for the Big 12 Tournament. The madness is about to begin.