Bob Huggins and the No. 12 West Virginia Mountaineers Trounce TCU
Morgantown, WV – The West Virginia Mountaineers (14-2, 3-1) shot a season-high 57.7% from the field, cruising to an 81-49 win over the Texas Christian Horned Frogs (12-4, 3-1) Tuesday night.
As both teams we’re still getting a feel for the game, TCU held a two-point advantage before West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins made a wholesale change in the lineup. On the floor, Brandon Knapper, Deuce McBride, Chase Harler, Gabe Osabuohien, and Logan Routt.
Knapper immediately tied the game with a jumper off the left-elbow, then gave West Virginia the lead burying a three that sparked a 16-2 run and capped it off leading a three on one fast break with a no-look pass to Chase Harler for a 23-11 Mountaineer advantage.
“(Senior guard) Chase (Harler) has been terrific. Normal people don’t understand how much Chase brings to the table for us. He’s been, in a lot of cases, our best defender on the floor. He’s made shots. He’s constantly telling other guys where to go and what to do. He’s been fantastic. (Sophomore guard Brandon Knapper) Knapp’s just getting better and better. He’s coming back from a pretty serious knee injury, and then had some other things where they didn’t know whether he’d ever play again. You just don’t come back from that in a couple of months. Both of those guys are just getting better and better. They give us pretty good pop off the bench.”
Big 12’s second-leading scorer Desmond Bane scored five-straight to get TCU back within seven but Sean McNeil came off the bench, and on his third attempt, drilled a three to start his eight-point spurt in the final three and a half minutes to give West Virginia a 14-point lead into halftime.
TCU came into the game as the Big 12’s best three-point shooting team in the Big 12 and was 7-13 from behind the arch, after making the first three three's in the second half with 16 minutes remaining in the game. Subsequently, it had the Horned Frogs still within striking distance only down eight.
However, as the Big 12’s best three-point defensive team, West Virginia held TCU 0-10 from three the rest of the way.
West Virginia starting to work more of the high-low offense and forward Derek Culver, like he did in the first half, went up strong for offensive put backs and putting on a clinic in the low post.
The Mountaineer frontcourt of Culver, Oscar Tshiebwe and Osabuohien took over the game working the high-low offense and in a bit of surprise, TCU was not emphasizing doubling Culver that kept him from scoring double figures in the previous four games as he finished the night with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
“In the first half, it was two-fold. One, we didn’t really move our feet and post. We were kind of trying to lean on guys and not move our feet. Then, we just made terrible angled passes in the first half. That’s what we talked about at halftime. It’s a block-out. That’s what it is. You get a guy on your back and block him out and don’t let him get around you. The post guys did a much better job in the second half of doing that, and we did a much better job of feeding the ball. The post guys are going to tell you where to throw the ball. They’re going to have a hand up. Hit the hand. Our angles were terrible.”
On the backs of the bigs, the trio combined for 22 of the Mountaineers 44 second-half points as the Mountaineers rolled 81-49.