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February 9, 2013

WVU toughs out win at TCU





It wasn't easy on the road for West Virginia (12-11, 5-5) Saturday in Bob Huggins 1000th game as a head coach, but the Mountaineers were able to grind out its third straight Big 12 Conference win by defeating TCU (10-13, 1-9) 63 to 50.

The Mountaineers pushed their conference record back to .500, while securing a season sweep of the Horned Frogs in the process after winning 71-50 on Jan. 23.

West Virginia got double figures from Terry Henderson with 17, 15 of those coming in the first half, along with 14 points from Eron Harris and Jabarie Hinds also added 12 points. Other notable scorers for the Mountaineers included 8 points from Deniz Kilicli and 7 from Aaric Murray. The Horned Frogs were led by Kyan Anderson with 16 points and Connell Crossland with 13 points.

The two teams started the game slowly, but West Virginia took the lid off the basket first on a pair of free throws from Harris at the 17:27 mark. And at the first media timeout that's where the score sat. In the early goings, the Mountaineers pressure defense bothered the Horned Frogs with four turnovers as West Virginia denied everything on the offensive end.

The Horned Frogs took their first lead of the game on their first field goal and a free throw from Crossland on a drive to the basket, but Kilicli got to work in the post on the other end to take the lead back at 4-3. TCU was able to take the lead back on a jumper from Kyan Anderson and then he hit on another three to put the score at 8-4 with nearly eight minutes got in the first half.

Hinds jumped in the passing lane for a steal on an entry pass into the post, which led to a layup that Harris connected on through contact, although he missed the ensuing free throw. Kevin Noreen would add a free throw, but the Horned Frogs would hit another mid-range jumper and a basket in the post to extend their early advantage to 12-7.

Henderson got his first points of the game as he executed a nice quick release jumper coming off a screen to cut the Horned Frogs lead to 12-11, but TCU's Anderson responded with another jumper to keep the early edge over the Mountaineers.

The true freshman Henderson tied the game up at 16-all on another dagger from behind the arc at the 7:50 mark, and following a free throw Henderson struck again with another three-pointer and a pair of free throws to give West Virginia a 21-17 lead.

The Mountaineers were able to once again take TCU out of its deliberate offense and force a turnover into the hands of Juwan Staten who was able to outlet the ball to Harris for a dunk, but the six-point lead was short lived as West Virginia gave up a look from in close on the other end.

Harris missed two free throws, but his true freshman running mate Henderson was there to sneak in for the offensive rebound and put the ball in the basket to put the score at 25-19.

The Horned Frogs would reel off five straight, but Henderson would strike again on another basket from long distance to give him 15-points in the half, and between the two freshmen 21 of the Mountaineers 28 points came from the pair.

The Horned Frogs tied the game at 28-all, but the Mountaineers had the final possession of the half and ran the clock down to find Hinds on the wing as he connected on a three-ball as time expired in the first half with West Virginia ahead 31-28. The Mountaineers were able to force 11 TCU turnovers, but the Horned Frogs hit on 60-percent of their shots from the field and out rebounded West Virginia 14-5.

TCU opened the scoring in the second half with back-to-back baskets to take a 32-31 lead a minute in, but Gary Browne hit his first field goal of the game on a jumper to give the Mountaineers the lead back. After a turnover by the Frogs, West Virginia was able to get the ball in deep to Kilicli for an uncontested dunk.

The score sat at 37-34 at the 15:50 mark after a pair of Hinds free throws, and Kilicli extended that advantage to five after a screen that freed the big man to roll to the basket for an easy layup at the rim. The roll continued when Harris hit a three-pointer from the corner to give the Mountaineers their largest lead of the game to that point at 42-34 with 14:20 left to play.

West Virginia let the lead evaporate quickly as the Horned Frogs scored five quick points to cut the advantage to 42-39, but the Mountaineers responded once again finding Kilicli down-low for another uncontested layup.

Harris caught the Horned Frogs sleeping once again in transition to throw down another dunk and give the Mountaineers a 46-40 lead just over 10:30 left to play. Murray got on the scoreboard on an offensive put-back to extend the lead back out to eight points, tying the largest of the game.

And after Noreen hustled to corral two offensive rebounds in a row, he found a wide open Harris for a three-pointer to give the Mountaineers a 51-40 lead, but TCU quickly matched with a three of their own to cut the lead back to eight points with under eight minutes left in the game.

The Horned Frogs added a free throw, but the Mountaineers were able to go back to the well and find Murray down-low for another easy basket to give West Virginia a 53-44 lead on a turning second-half clock. Murray was called for a goal tending on the other end, but the Horned Frogs defense left Murray alone and he was able to cash in on a three-pointer to bring the lead back to double-digits.

The two teams then traded three-point plays, as Hinds went into double figures after a theatrical move to the basket and finish off the backboard. And from that point West Virginia was able to seize the momentum and force the Horned Frogs to shoot into a zone to put the game away.


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