West Virginia beats TCU, earns third-straight win
Published: Monday, February 11, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 11, 2013 06:02
Following its worst start to a season in the last 10 years, the West Virginia men’s basketball team continued its apparent turnaround Saturday afternoon against TCU, dropping the Horned Frogs 63-50 to complete the Mountaineers’ third separate three-game winning streak this year.
The win brings West Virginia (12-11, 5-5) back to .500 in conference play and marks the first three-game conference win streak since WVU joined the Big 12 this season.
"The exciting thing is now we’re 5-5 in the league," said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins, who coached his 1,000th game Saturday afternoon. "There will be some people who lose today that will come falling back to us. Now we go home, we take a day off, we go at it for two days, go to Waco."
Freshman guard Terry Henderson scored a game-high 17 points on 5 of 6 shooting from the field, including 3 of 4 from behind the arc, and a perfect 4 for 4 from the free-throw line.
It was Henderson’s highest output since being limited by a lower back injury in the beginning of January.
"I’ve been feeling good – just treating it, getting back to normal," said Henderson of his former injury. "(I’m) trying to get my athleticism and my core back to where it needs to be, but I felt good out there today.
"I felt like they were leaving me too open, and, you know, I just let it fly and it went in tonight."
Fellow freshman guard Eron Harris also let it fly Saturday afternoon against the Horned Frogs, netting 14 points on 50 percent shooting from the floor. Harris was also 2 of 3 from long range.
"Everybody loves it just because we’re young guys," Harris said. "We’re coming in and contributing as freshmen, and that’s a bright future for us. People like to see that."
Henderson echoed Harris’ sentiments.
"Yeah, it’s fun playing with him," Henderson said. "And it’s hard for the defense to figure out. We’ve got two athletic shooters – that’s hard to cover. And it’s just going to be a bright future for both of us."
Sophomore guard Jabarie Hinds also scored 12 points to go with four steals, four assists and four rebounds in West Virginia’s second regular season series sweep against a Big 12 team this year.
As a team, the Mountaineers shot better than 50 percent from the field for just the fifth time this season. West Virginia is now 39-1 all-time when the team shoots 50 percent or better from the field under Bob Huggins.
In addition to West Virginia’s offensive efficiency, the Mountaineers’ defense again held TCU to the lowest total of any opponent faced this season. This came less than 72 hours after the Horned Frogs scored 62 against Kansas in what’s being called one of the biggest upsets of the entire college basketball season.
"Defensively, we didn’t play near where we have shown we can do," Harris said. "And I don’t know why we didn’t come out aggressive, but second half we just fixed that. It felt like the zone slowed them down a little bit and made them force jump shots."
TCU also scored just 50 points in the first meeting Jan. 23 in Morgantown.
Now, despite West Virginia’s return to .500 in conference play, it should be noted all five wins have come against the teams with the three worst records in the Big 12 – Texas, Texas Tech and TCU.
The Mountaineers are still 0-5 against Big 12 teams with a winning conference record, but they’ll have several opportunities down this critical stretch to change that mark, including two very important games against Baylor that, if West Virginia were to win, would significantly help WVU supplant the Bears as the sixth-best team, by record, in the conference.
Harris said that, on the heels of this latest three-game winning streak, the Mountaineers are already playing with the belief they’re competing at as high a level as anyone in the Big 12 right now.
"We definitely have the confidence to be in the top three in the conference now," Harris said. "We’ve just got to keep winning these games.
"We’ve got three in a row; let’s make it four."