No. 17 West Virginia wins 6th in a row, 95-87 at TCU
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) Jaysean Paige was in foul trouble like many of his West Virginia teammates. The senior guard made the most of his time on the court.
Paige scored 20 points in only 15 minutes, with seven of the points in a late game-clinching run as foul-plagued and turnover-prone No. 17 West Virginia stretched its winning streak to six games with a 95-87 victory over TCU on Monday night.
Coach Bob Huggins wanted the ball in the hands of his guards Paige and Tarik Phillip in the second half after the Mountaineers (13-1, 2-0 Big 12) had 14 turnovers before the break, when they were called for 21 fouls and were somehow down by only two points.
''We were turning the ball over at an alarming rate,'' Huggins said. ''I figured our best chance was to give it to the guys that you trust the most with it, and tell them don't pass it unless you have to.''
Phillip finished with only one foul and 18 points, 14 coming in the second half, when Paige got all but two of his points. They were among six players scoring in double figures for the Mountaineers, who had two players foul out and four others, including Paige, finish with four fouls.
''Tarik was terrific, Tarik is so competitive. I thought he as much as anybody willed us to win,'' Huggins said. ''Then Jaysean comes in and gets 20 in 15 minutes. ... We're pretty good when he stays in the game.''
Phillip made a 3-pointer with 5:40 left to make it 75-74, starting a 14-2 run in less than 3 minutes that put WVU ahead to stay. Paige followed with a layup and later was on the receiving end of contact from Chris Washburn, who was called for a deadball technical foul while they were going for a rebound.
That led to six points on the ensuing possession, including two free throws and a 3-pointer by Paige from the corner in front of the WVU bench.
Frogs coach Trent Johnson said one of the disappointing things is spending so much time talking about mental toughness and then for his team to lose its poise, ''and it hurt us down the stretch.''
TCU (8-6, 0-2), coming off a 69-48 Big 12-opening loss at Oklahoma State, played the first conference game in its completely renovated arena. For a while, it looked like the Frogs might inaugurate the building with an upset victory.
''That's a good basketball team, we had a hard time guarding them in man, had a hard time guarding them in zone,'' Johnson said.
The Mountaineers won their third road game in six days. They were coming off a double-overtime victory at Kansas State in their Big 12 opener on Saturday.
Jonathan Holton added 15 points for the Mountaineers, while Daxter Miles Jr. had 14 and Devin Williams and Jevon Carter both scored 13.
Chauncey Collins led TCU with 20 points, including four 3-pointers. Karviar Shephard made 10 of 11 free throws while scoring 18 points, and Malique Trent scored 15 points.
TCU was up 60-53 early in the second half after a quick exchange of 3-pointers, Collins hitting a long one for TCU, before Carter made one for West Virginia and Michael Williams made another one for the Frogs.
But West Virginia tied the game at 60 after consecutive turnovers by Collins. Carter had a steal for a breakaway two-handed slam dunk, then Paige stole the ball and fed Holton for a tying reverse layup.
LOT OF FREE THROWS
The Mountaineers had 33 fouls, the third time this season with at least 30 in a game. The last time they had more was 34 in a home overtime win over TCU last January. There were a combined 60 fouls called and 79 free throws attempted in the game, with TCU making 35 of 40 from the line, and WVU was 26 of 39.
West Virginia: This is the third consecutive season the Mountaineers opened Big 12 play with two road games. They have started 2-0 each time. ... After going up 10-2 on two free throws by Paige only 3 minutes into the game, WVU had a scoreless span of 3 1-2 minutes with six turnovers, two missed free throws and only one shot.
TCU: The Horned Frogs are 2-28 against ranked teams in Johnson's four seasons.... After going down 20-13, TCU scored 13 in a row midway through the first half. Shepard made two free throws to tie the game at 20, and Collins then converted a four-point play.
West Virginia: hosts Oklahoma State on Saturday.
TCU: hosts Texas on Saturday night.