MORGANTOWN - Defense gets the job done as the Mountaineers get back on track, defeating the TCU Horned Frogs 71-50.
The first matchup between the two squads in history swayed WVU's way throughout the majority of the game. West Virginia (9-9, 2-3) has ended their drought after losing four of the last five games.
"Winning has become kind of expected," said head coach Bob Huggins following the game. "Losing has become excruciatingly painful."
Defense in the first half was key in the Mountaineers jumping out to a lead. Despite trailing by as much as four in the first five minutes, WVU was able to force three straight steals leading to a 10-2 run.
After 20 minutes, the team blanketed in white was shooting over 40% from the field, something fans simply are not used to. They did struggle along the perimeter though, as the team opened the game just 1-for-6 outside the arc.
Head coach Bob Huggins once again used an assortment of different lineups as he had 12 of his players hit the floor. He used combinations of size and wing players to keep the TCU defense on their toes.
The rolling for West Virginia didn't stop. Another 10-2 run early in the second half contributed to the lead even more. Late in the second half, the lead was up to 23 points.
The Horned Frogs (9-10, 0-6) are still searching for their first Big 12 Conference victory. Their next try will be against Baylor on Saturday.
The defensive pressure in general was as stiff as it has been all season for West Virginia. The Mountaineers came up with 12 steals, causing 17 turnovers. Aaric Murray also had two big blocks in the first half.
In many ways, it was as if this team returned to their old-selves. Using the fast break and finding their big men inside was the game plan, and it worked. The team came up with 19 offensive rebounds, four shy of their defensive rebound mark.
"We give ourselves a lot of opportunities for offensive rebounds," said Huggins. "There are 20 teams that shoot worse than us in the whole country, so we give ourselves a lot of chances."
Deniz Kilicli started his first game since the Big 12 opener against Oklahoma on January 5. He made the most of starting minutes, especially by staying away from foul trouble. He finished with 11 points, and eight rebounds.
The game-high in points was once again rewarded to freshman guard, Eron Harris. Using his fast break abilities, he was able to move swiftly down the court and score on the run. He ended up with 19 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor. His performance is a new career-high.
"It is what it is," said a humble Harris. "I just did what I had to do for the team."
Kyan Anderson of TCU, who has the best performance of the year in the conference with 35 points in a game, did manage to put up 19 points of his own. He was one of three Horned Frogs to score in double-digits.
It doesn't get any easier from here on out for Huggins squad. They'll play an away game at Oklahoma State Saturday before the "Stripe the Coliseum" game against Kansas on Monday. The Jayhawks have just one loss on the 2012-2013 season.