The Mountaineers had a tough time finding their rhythm early Saturday afternoon against the 13-0 TCU Horned Frogs. After going 13 of 37 from the field, and turning the ball over seven times in the first half, the team desperately needed someone to step up to get the team back on the right track. On this day, it was none other than senior guard Gary Browne who helped catapult the Mountaineers ahead of Horned Frogs with a season-high 16 points.
WVU outscored the opposition 48-35 in the second half as they beat TCU by a score of 78-67 Saturday afternoon at the Wilkerson-Greines Athletic Center in Fort Worth, TX.
Within the first three minutes of Saturday’s game, the Mountaineers missed three open lay-up opportunities, and committed three turnovers. West Virginia was flat to start, but for good reason. Prior to the game coach Bob Huggins scratched the team’s leading scorer, senior guard Juwan Staten, from the line-up as Staten was suffering from a seasonal illness.
TCU showed the Mountaineers no mercy as they took an early 4-0 lead following WVU’s early miscues. From there, the Horned Frogs found a way to stretch the lead up to as high as ten points in the first half before the Mountaineers finally got themselves together.
Down 27-18 following a lay-up by TCU’s Trey Zeigler, Jevon Carter immediately buried a three-point jumper on the other end of the court to cut the deficit down to six with 3:38 left to play in the half. After another TCU bucket, this time from Brandon Parrish, it was Jaysean Paige who answered from three-point land to get the Mountaineers within four points of tying the contest. Although West Virginia was fighting, the Frogs were not relenting as Zeigler and Kyan Anderson made a couple more shots before the buzzer to keep the Mountaineers at bay by two points at the break.
In the second half, the Horned Frogs were dealt a healthy dose of Devin Williams and Gary Browne as the two combined for 28 of the team’s 48 points in the period alone.
Down seven following a short 5-0 run by the Horned Frogs, Devin Williams began an 8-0 run for the Mountaineers with a jumper and a made “and one” foul shot at the 18:21 mark of the period. The run saw the Mountaineers take their first lead of the day on a lay-up by Daxter Miles Jr.
Up 38-37 with 17:13 left to play, TCU scrambled to hit a shot as they had been held scoreless for over two minutes and 30 seconds. Finally at the 16:10 mark, Trey Zeigler answered with a tip-in bucket to help the Horned Frogs take back the lead. Amric Fields followed things up a minute later with a jumper to stretch TCU’s slim lead to a difference of three points (41-38).
Devin Williams was able to give the Mountaineers their second lead of the ball game on a couple of foul shots following a call against Karviar Shepherd. Although TCU managed to tie the game briefly, the Mountaineers would pull ahead for good after Daxter Miles Jr. hit a running lay-up at the 12:32 mark. TCU would get within two of the Mountaineers once more later in the half before ultimately falling by eleven points.
Turnovers did not play as much of a factor in this one as originally thought. While WVU held an 18-14 advantage in the category, it’s the shooting numbers that help tell the story of Saturday’s contest.
In the first half, WVU was outshot by the Horned Frogs 42.9%-35.1%. At the foul line, WVU was even worse as they converted only two of their six first half opportunities (33.3%). In the second half, the Mountaineers were much better in both facets of their shooting game as they finished the period with a team shooting percentage of 51.3% from the field, and 77.3% from the foul line.
Gary Browne finished 5 of 11 from the field, and more importantly, 6 of 9 from the foul line for a team-high 16 points. He also registered 2 rebounds and 2 assists in 23 minutes of floor time. Devin Williams finished second on the team in scoring with 14 points. Williams was also clutch at the foul line, going a perfect 6 for 6 at the charity stripe. The Cincinnati, OH native was just two rebounds short of another double-double as he finished with eight boards, along with a block, and an assist. Jayseasn Paige was the only other Mountaineer to reach the double-digit mark in points scored as he finished with 10.
TCU was once again led in scoring by senior guard Kyan Anderson. Anderson finished the day 4 of 8 from the field (9 of 12 from the foul line) with a game-high 19 points, 3 assists, a block, and a steal. Following Anderson in the point column was former Pitt stand-out Trey Zeigler. The senior guard finished the day 4 of 6 from the field (9 of 12 from the foul line) for 17 points, six rebounds, four assists, and a block. Sophomore forward Brandon Parrish was the only other Horned Frog to record double-digits as he finished with 11.
Coach Bob Huggins is now in sole-possession of 13th place on the all-time wins list for NCAA Division I Men’s basketball coaches. For the occasion, coach Huggins even switched back into his famous all-black track suit for the entire second half after wearing a dress shirt and sport coat in the first. He passes former Oklahoma State coach Hank Iba for the position, and will now look ahead towards passing E.A. Diddle for 12th on the list.
The Mountaineers improve to 13-1 overall, and 1-0 in Big XII conference play with Saturday’s win while TCU drops to 13-1 overall, and 0-1, respectively following the defeat. WVU will make a quick stop in Lubbock, TX for a Monday night showdown with the 10-4 Texas Tech Red Raiders. Tip-off is slated for 7:00PM, and the game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.