In a battle of two 12-2 teams both looking to go 2-1 in Big 12 play, the game boiled down to the final 9:47 when West Virginia outscored the Horned Frogs 25-13.
“They’re a whole lot better than they were a year ago,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, whose WVU teams are now 10-0 against the Horned Frogs since the two schools joined the Big 12. “They keep coming at you.”
TCU, which trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half, and then again by 11 with 13:12 remaining, used a 15-4 run to tie the game at 57 following a Desmond Bane layup with 9:47 to go.
“They got some loose balls, 50-50 balls, that we normally at least get a hand on and then we turned them loose,” explained Huggins. “We made some bad decisions in pressure. We let them split a trap and that’s how it all started.”
But here, Miles answered with a layup and Sagaba Konate
followed with a traditional three-point play when he was fouled by Vlad Brodziansky while scoring near the basket. Konate’s free throw pushed West Virginia’s advantage to 62-57.
Then three minutes later, Carter took control of the game with the Mountaineers leading by just four.
Following a missed jumper by TCU’s Alex Robinson, Carter came down on the other end and drilled a 3 from the top of the key. The next time down the floor, following a basket by Bane, Carter drained another. This one put WVU ahead by eight, 71-63.
His third came with 2:52 left to put the Mountaineers ahead by nine, 74-65. Konate followed with another lay in and then a steal by Nathan Adrian
led to Miles’ 3 from the corner to make it a 15-point game with two minutes to go.
West Virginia (13-2, 2-1) used an 18-9 run over the remaining six minutes by holding the Horned Frogs to just three field goals during that stretch of time.
"We were tied up," said TCU coach Jamie Dixon, making his first appearance at the Coliseum since 2012 when he coached at Pitt. "We have to make the plays down the stretch and certainly we're there.
"This is the Big 12. This is what it is. You're going to play tough people and that's why you signed up for it, so I think this was good for us - I mean it can be good for us and we'll see how we respond going forward," added Dixon.
The Horned Frogs’ highly-touted freshman point guard Jaylen Fisher really struggled with West Virginia’s pressure, turning the ball over five times in the first half and six times for the game. Overall, TCU committed 18 miscues leading to 28 West Virginia points - a deciding factor in the game.
added 16 points on seven-of-11 shooting, while Carter and Konate contributed 13 points each. For Konate, who also grabbed eight rebounds coming off the bench, it was a season high in scoring for him this afternoon.
In three Big 12 games so far this season, the freshman from Bamako, Mali has scored 12, 6 and 13 points against Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and now TCU.
“He continues to get better,” said Huggins of Konate. “Standing around in there sometimes it’s a little hard to catch it, but he makes some hard catches and the block he had (near the end of the game) really opened the game up. That was a heck of a block. I was fortunate to watch Kenyon (Martin) block some shots and that was kind of like watching (him) play.”
Adrian, despite scoring just four points, was also a big contributor in today’s victory by grabbing a game-high nine rebounds, handing out five assists and making two steals. He played a team-high 34 minutes.
“(Adrian) didn’t shoot the ball well but I’m afraid we’re wearing him out, too,” said Huggins. “I wanted to play Magic (freshman Maciej Bender
) and we didn’t play him at all. The game didn’t go the way we wanted it.”
Robinson led TCU, now 12-3, 1-2, with 17 points on three-of-nine shooting. Brodziansky added 14 on five-of-six shooting.
Overall, the Horned Frogs made 46.2 percent from the floor and were 17-of-21 from the free throw line - attempting seven more free throws and making eight more than the Mountaineers (nine-of-14).
“We had seven fouls and they had one and they were going to the free throw line,” noted Huggins. “You can’t be as aggressive when they’re always going to the free throw line.”
An announced crowd of 12,568 watched today’s game.
West Virginia was one coach light on the bench today with assistant coach Ron Everhart recuperating in a local hospital following back surgery.
West Virginia now turns its attention to next Tuesday night’s matchup against undefeated Baylor, which could come into the Coliseum ranked No. 1 in the country if it can knock off Oklahoma State later today.
It could be the second time in as many years the Coliseum will play host to college basketball’s top-ranked team.
Last year, WVU defeated No. 1 Kansas 74-63 in front of 12,097 fans.
“Isn’t this league something?” Huggins said. “We beat Kansas, which was No. 1 in the country last year, and then we went to Oklahoma when they were going to be No. 1 in the country the following week and they beat us on a tip-in at the buzzer. This league is just … we went a long time here and didn’t play the No. 1 team in the country until we beat Vegas (1983). Now all of a sudden, you get one like twice a year.”
The game will tip off at 7 p.m. and will be televised nationally on ESPN2.