The No. 6 West Virginia men’s basketball team battled to a bounce back win against the TCU Horned Frogs on Thursday night behind a career-high scoring performance from Jalen Bridges.
West Virginia (18-7, 11-5 Big 12) opened the game with a sloppy start to lead 11-7 at the 14-minute mark. The Mountaineers utilized a six-minute scoring drought by TCU (12-12, 5-10 Big 12) to balloon their lead to 22-7 with under eight minutes to play in the first half.
By halftime, WVU closed out the first half with a 32-18 lead.
TCU began the second half with back-to-back scores to cut the West Virginia lead to 10 and force head coach Bob Huggins to call a timeout. The Mountaineers returned to a comfortable 15-point lead at 42-27 with less than 15 minutes remaining in regulation.
On many occasions it looked as if WVU would blow out TCU and roll on to the win. However, the Horned Frogs continued to answer West Virginia and keep the game close.
By the nine-minute mark, TCU had cut the WVU lead to just eight points as it outscored the Mountaineers 17-10 over a span of five minutes. The closest the Horned Frogs made it was 55-48 with 5:47 to play, but WVU answered and built its lead to 13 with under three minutes left.
West Virginia closed out the game at the free throw line to earn a 76-67 win and a season sweep over TCU for the first time since the 2016-17 season.
As a team, West Virginia had a poor performance shooting the ball. The Mountaineer went 21-of-61 (34%) from the field and 8-of-21 (38%) from three-point range.
The Mountaineers backed up their outstanding free throw performance against Baylor with another against TCU. West Virginia finished the game 26-of-30 (87%) from the free throw line.
Bridges led all scorers with his 22 points as he also earned his first career double-double with 12 rebounds. Three other Mountaineers scored in double-digits as Derek Culver scored 17, Sean McNeil finished with 14 points — just 1-of-6 (17%) from behind the arc — and Miles McBride added 10 points.
TCU’s leading scorer for the year, R.J. Nembhard, only scored five points as he shot 2-of-8 (25%) from the field.
Huggins is now at 899 career victories as a Division I head coach. He has an opportunity to be just the sixth Division I head coach to reach 900 wins on Saturday.
West Virginia will host the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Saturday afternoon. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum.