West Virginia hits the road, looks to keep win streak alive against TCU
Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 7, 2013 23:02
Daniel-Meyer Coliseum may be a much more difficult place to play than many previously thought.
Wednesday night, a record crowd of 7,412 watched TCU – which was previously winless in Big 12 Conference play – take down undefeated in Big 12 play, fifth-ranked Kansas in shocking fashion.
Consequently, when West Virginia (11-11, 4-5) travels to Fort Worth, Texas, Saturday afternoon, the Horned Frogs (10-12, 1-8) will be playing with an abundance of confidence.
The Mountaineers won the first matchup between the two schools 71-50 two weeks ago and have also been playing better in
recent games, having won two-straight.
No matter the amount of momentum brought into the game by either team, the objective for West Virginia remains the same.
"We’ve just got to win games," said head coach Bob Huggins, who will be coaching his 1,000th career game as a head coach Saturday. "The formula is pretty simple. You’ve got to win."
Huggins’ team has been shooting the ball much better in recent games compared to games earlier in the season.
Improved play from Mountaineer senior forward Deniz Kilicli on the offensive end has forced opponents to send extra defenders his way and ultimately open up space for other West Virginia players.
"He’s so much more active," Huggins said of Kilicli. "I think the last two games have been the best two all-around games Deniz has played. He’s had a lot of energy."
Kilicli isn’t alone, though, when it comes to impressive performances on offense.
Freshman guard Eron Harris is beginning to emerge as a go-to guy and is also starting to attract attention from opposing defensives.
Harris has scored in double figures in six of his last seven games and is playing with a confidence.
"I think his teammates have confidence in him. They’re looking to get him the ball," Huggins said. "I think everybody else is figuring out that he can make shots, and so he’s being guarded a lot better than he was being guarded earlier."
West Virginia is going to need to string together multiple wins to boost its postseason resume. And with the next few games on the schedule against teams the Mountaineers have either already beaten or could be favored to beat, this stretch of the season is crucial for Huggins and company.
Still, though, the veteran head coach wants his team to keep things simple.
"You know the old cliché ‘take them one at a time?’ There were other times when we thought we had turned the corner a little bit, and we kind reverted back," Huggins said. "I think we’ve got a chance. I really do."