FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – The last time West Virginia beat TCU 2½ weeks ago, Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins was disappointed with his team’s play. After his 1,000th career game Saturday – a 63-50 victory over the Horned Frogs – Huggins changed his tune.
“I decided (after the first TCU game) I’ve never been through a year like this,” said Huggins, who also coached in his 199th game at West Virginia. “I’m not going to be unhappy when we win.”
Huggins’ team, which has three sophomores and two freshmen among its top seven players, took a little longer to gel than he expected. But those young players were on display against TCU, as freshmen Terry Henderson and Eron Harris combined for nearly half (31) of the Mountaineers’ points against the Horned Frogs.
Henderson led West Virginia with 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range. Harris scored 14 points as the Mountaineers won their third in a row – their third such streak this season.
Sophomore Jabarie Hinds added 12 points for West Virginia (5-5 Big 12, 12-11 overall), cooling off the Horned Frogs who were coming off their biggest win in program history, 62-55 over No. 5 Kansas on Wednesday night.
“I’m beside myself right now,” said TCU coach Trent Johnson, who is in his first year at the school. “Because I’m all about what West Virginia is about. They’re physical and tough – I can’t wait until we get there.”
Harris’ 3-pointer with 8:39 to go, after Kevin Noreen kept the possession alive with two offensive rebounds, gave West Virginia its largest lead to that point at 51-40.
“That was a huge play for us – that was probably a back-breaker,” Huggins said.
TCU trimmed its deficit to seven points three times after that but the Mountaineers didn’t let down, building on the lead as the Horned Frogs didn’t score a field goal in the final four minutes.
Kyan Anderson led TCU (1-9, 10-13) with 16 points, while Connell Crossland scored 13. TCU’s second-leading scorer Garlon Green, who was averaging 10.7 points per game, hit only 1 of 12 shots from the field for three points.
After shooting 60 percent from the field in the first half, the Horned Frogs shot just 25 percent in the second half.
West Virginia went on a 10-1 run in the first half that gave the Mountaineers their first lead since 4-3 five minutes into the game. In the run, Henderson hit two 3-pointers in a 45-second period and Harris slammed down a dunk for a 23-17 West Virginia lead with five minutes to play.
TCU’s largest lead of the half was 12-7, and the Horned Frogs were on a 9-3 run late in the half before Hinds sank a 3-pointer as time expired for a 31-28 West Virginia lead at the break.
TCU led 32-31 a minute into the second half, but then West Virginia rattled off an 11-2 run ending with Harris’ 3-pointer from corner with 14:22 to go, and the Mountaineers stayed ahead the rest of the game.
Huggins, who is 722-278, is in 19th place all-time in Division I victories, two wins behind the next coach on the list, Ray Meyer. He’s third on the active wins list behind Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, who is No. 1 on the list, and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim.