West Virginia Unable To Overcome Major Stretches Sans Points In Costly Defeat
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – There would be no comeback in Fort Worth, no magic for the Mountaineers as No. 7 West Virginia took an 82-73 defeat that was more of a drubbing against TCU Monday night.
With Jevon Carter struggling, the rest of WVU’s offense followed suit as the Horned Frogs did anything and everything they wanted over much of the final 25 minutes of play in defeating a ranked team for the first time at 57-year-old Schollmaier Arena.
The major culprit? A span of 9:43 in which TCU held West Virginia without a field goal. That spurred a 23-3 run that flipped a seven-point lead into a four-point deficit for the Mountaineers, which not only couldn’t hit from the floor, but also failed to get to the line. The result that Texas Christian finished the first half on an 11-2 run, scoring 11 consecutive points after WVU led 31-24 on Lamont West’s three-pointer with 4:12 remaining. It gave the Frogs the lead for good at 35-31, and it only expanded from there as the offensive futility continued into the second half.
West Virginia managed just three free throws in what was nearly a 10-minute stretch spanning both halves, and by the time Dax Miles mercifully snapped the streak with a lay-in, WVU was down 47-36 with 14 minutes left. That’s not a lead which can’t be overcome. The Mountaineers, after all, rallied from down 16 versus Missouri with less than eight minutes left.
But without Carter hitting, with Miles in another 40-minute struggle from the field, with the loss of Beetle Bolden to an aggravated groin injury suffered just before the half on a hard screen, there was little to nothing from the outside. Combine that with a a rare lack of ability to find the net from inside and a lack of second-chance scoring from point blank range, and West Virginia suffered its worst overall offensive half of the season in terms of execution.
It was equally as bad on the defensive side over the majority the final period. A TCU team which managed 24 points in the game’s first 16 minutes doubled that over the next 12 and led by as many as 63-43 with seven minutes left. To that point the Mountaineers were an icy 17 percent from the floor in the second half after missing 10 of their first 11 from the field.
To its credit, WVU did manage a 12-1 run between the five- and three-minute marks to get within 69-60, but it was far too little and much too late as TCU beat the Mountaineers for the first time in a dozen tries. It was an impressive win by the Frogs (15-5, 3-5), who were hosting Big Monday for the first time and were able to snap a skid in which they lost four of the last five entering to improve to 11-2 at home.
For West Virginia, it was a third loss in four games. The defeat pushed WVU (16-4, 5-3) more than a full game behind Big 12 leader Kansas (16-3, 6-1). There were, in truth, a series of issues to overcome. Besides the lengthy scoring drought, the loss of Bolden and his normally sharp shooting hurt. After colliding on a screen before the half, the sophomore crumpled to the ground, having aggravated a groin injury that also bothered him after taking a hit from Kerwin Roach against Texas. It appears this will be an ongoing issue, and it was one that disrupted the depth and outside shooting against TCU over the last 20 minutes.
The Mountaineers also largely failed to keep the Frogs off the offensive glass, allowing a dozen offensive rebounds and 13 second-chance points. Carter finished with 16, but it took a late spurt to get there while missing all six of his threes. He also fouled out for the first time in his 127 career games at WVU, that coming in the final five seconds on a reach.
Miles was 1-for-8 behind the arc and managed 12 points while Sags Konate was solid in scoring 14 to go with eight rebounds. But the consistency in any area simply wasn’t there on a 7-for-27 night from three and in a game in which the Mountaineers missed 50 of 75 shots to shoot 33.3 percent. TCU had uncharacteristic advantages in rebounds (46-40) and assists (20-17) as WVU failed to share the ball effectively. The Horned Frogs also amassed an incredible 24-10 edge in bench points in gaining a much needed victory and sending West Virginia back to the drawing board before the SEC/Big 12 Challenge this Saturday against Kentucky inside the Coliseum.