Fast starts out of the locker room by TCU helped the Horned Frogs edge the 17th-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers in Fort Worth, 67-60.
The Horned Frogs started fast at the beginning of all three periods, with the Mountaineers fighting back in both halves in regulation. They wouldn’t have enough time to get their offense alive in overtime, putting just 5 points on the board to TCU’s 12.
TCU got their first lead right at the beginning of the contest, but the Mountaineers quickly earned some baskets back to keep the score close. This is how most of the first half would happen, in a teeter-totter of sorts with each team tyring to keep the lead.
Bob Huggins again went with his smaller lineup, substituting Derek Culver out for an extra guard. Oscar Tshiebwe started in the frontcourt for West Virginia, but he would be taken out for Culver within the first two minutes.
Culver made his presence known early on in the contest, and logged 10 points and 6 rebounds in 16 first-half minutes.
TCU’s offense was much more spread out. Guard Desmond Bane found his shot early, making a pair of three-pointers in the first half, while Kevin Samuel had a perfect shooting performance inside for 7 points.
West Virginia seemed to take control around the 10 minute mark of the half. Taz Sherman made his second career start and used his shooting stroke to extend a 15-1 run, giving the Mountaineers their largest lead of the game at 10 points.
By halftime, though, the Horned Frogs would fight back to get within a basket.
The second half started similarly to the first, with TCU reclaiming the lead right out of the gate. They started off with an 11-2 run to get their highest lead of the game at 7 points.
RJ Nembhard gave TCU a massive boost in the second half, scoring 10 of his 16 points in that period.
The game would go down to the final minute of regulation, with both teams getting a final shot in the last 10 seconds. As the Mountaineers were unable to convert on their potential go-ahead shot, Bane charged down the floor to attempt their own would-be game-winner but was whistled off due to an offensive foul.
Like the previous two periods, TCU again jumped on the lead early in overtime. Kevin Samuel, who seemed to be the Horned Frogs’ most crucial player of the day, kept his form into overtime with 6 points and a rebound. He finished with a game-high 19 points on 7-of-7 shooting and 8 rebounds after spending much of the first contest with foul trouble.
Except for a deep three-pointer from Sherman and a layup from Culver, the Mountaineers couldn’t find the bottom of the net in overtime as the Horned Frogs took the win at home.
Culver’s 18 points and 12 rebounds was his sixth double-double of the season and the 16th of his career. Taz Sherman added 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting as the only other Mountaineer to hit double figures.
Scoring was a problem for West Virginia throughout the game. They made just 40.3 percent of their field goals, with a dysmal 11.8-percent mark from deep. They also made just 53.3 percent of their 15 free throws.
Samuel’s 19 points was the first time since Jan. 29 the big man found double figures, and the highest scoring total since TCU’s appearance against Arkansas in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Jan. 25.
This loss for West Virginia drops them to an even 7-7 in Big 12 play and 19-8 on the season. They stay in the Lone Star State for their next matchup when they face Texas on Monday in Austin.