February 10, 2013

'Tougher' West Virginia topples TCU men

Mountaineers pull away from TCU late.

The mental and physical toughness TCU had in spades during its upset of Kansas earlier in the week went into hiding Saturday against West Virginia.

The Mountaineers put the Horned Frogs on their heels and eventually pulled away for a 63-50 win in front of an announced crowd of 5,192 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.

TCU (10-13, 1-9 Big 12) trailed by only six with just under 11 minutes to play, but WVU's defense clamped down just as the Frogs' defense started to loosen. WVU quickly turned its six-point lead to 51-40 when Aaric Murray scored on a layup after a TCU turnover, and Eron Harris hit a 3-pointer on a two-rebound possession for the Mountaineers.

WVU coach Bob Huggins called the sequence a backbreaker for TCU.

"All we have to do is block out," TCU coach Trent Johnson said. "I would agree with Huggs in that regard. That broke our back a little bit. But still there's a lot of time on the clock."

However, West Virginia (12-11, 5-5), which won its third consecutive game, closed off the shooting lanes, and the Frogs, who started the game shooting well, couldn't find the bottom of the basket. TCU made just 8 of 32 shots in the second half.

The Frogs' final seven points, scored over the last eight minutes, came on two layups and three free throws.

"We had to shoot some 3s late, but that's basically saying our guys don't want to attack the rim, to make the extra physical play to feed the post -- that's disturbing," Johnson said. "It's pretty simple: Mentally and physically, they're a lot tougher than we are."

Kyan Anderson led the Frogs with 16 points, and Connell Crossland added 13 points and nine rebounds. TCU held a decided edge on the boards, 34-23, but it didn't translate into points.

Garlon Green, who led the Frogs with 20 points Wednesday against Kansas, was a nonfactor in the first half after picking up two fouls in the first three minutes of the game. Green went to the bench and didn't return until the second half. He finished 1 of 12 from the field with three points.

The Mountaineers led 31-28 at the half despite the Frogs shooting 60 percent from the field. Anderson scored 10 of TCU's 28 first-half points, the most TCU has scored in a Big 12 game this season.

West Virginia's freshman guards, Terry Henderson and Harris, came alive late in the half. Henderson was 5 of 5 from the field off the bench, including 3 of 3 from the 3-point arc in the final 10 minutes to score 15 of his game-high 17 points before halftime. WVU made 4 of 5 3-pointers in the first half and finished 7 of 10 from the arc.

"Both of those freshmen can shoot the ball," said Huggins, who wasn't happy after WVU's 21-point win two weeks ago over TCU. "I've never been through a year like this. I decided I'm not going to be unhappy after we win. I'm going to be happy."

TCU plays at Oklahoma (17-5, 7-3) at 6 p.m. Monday in Norman, Okla. The Sooners beat Kansas 72-66 Saturday.

"I'm beside myself right now because I'm all about what West Virginia's about -- being physical and tough," Johnson said. "I just can't wait until we get there."

Stefan Stevenson


Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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