MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Eron Harris made 5-of-6 shots from the floor on his way to 19 points, and West Virginia pounded TCU 71-50 on Wednesday for its largest margin of victory since Nov. 28.

Not that the outcome did much for the Mountaineers’ psyche. At 9-9 overall and 2-3 in the Big 12, WVU still has miles to go to warrant NCAA tournament inspection.

“We were in the locker room and we weren’t even very excited, because we need to get on a run and beat some big teams, win some meaningful games,” Harris said. “When we start doing that, that’s when we’re going to get happy.”

Routing the Horned Frogs (9-10, 0-6), a team that could very well go winless in conference play this season, didn’t qualify as meaningful, though it certainly rang more pleasant than Saturday’s 27-point loss to Purdue.

“Right now, to be honest, I cannot even get happy because we’re 9-9,” said senior forward Deniz Kilicli, who made his first start in four games and produced 11 points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes.

“I’m not happy with the season, but it’s all our fault. If we want to go to the NCAA tournament, I think we’ve got to beat the next 12 or 13 teams in row.”

The Mountaineers at least took an adequate first step by putting up the second-most points TCU has allowed all season. (The high remains TCU’s 76-73 win over UAB on Nov. 24.) Behind 43-percent shooting, West Virginia enjoyed its most comfortable victory since beating VMI 94-69 nearly two months ago, though afterward, coach Bob Huggins was only begrudgingly enthusiastic.

“We were in the locker room and we weren’t even very excited, because we need to get on a run and beat some big teams, win some meaningful games.” — WVU guard Eron Harris

“I guess after all these years, I have learned not to get mad when you win one, but I am not very happy,” Huggins said. “We scored a lot of points off our defense in the first half and scored very little off our defense in the second half.”

WVU made 12 steals and forced 17 turnovers but allowed the Horned Frogs to shoot 50 percent in the second half. Still, TCU never got closer than 10 points in the second half, and WVU put the game away despite struggling at the foul line. Harris made 7-of-10, but the rest of the team went 9-of-21.

West Virginia won the rebounding battle 42-30, with Dominique Rutledge adding eight boards and Kevin Noreen grabbing seven.

“Lack of size can be an excuse,” said TCU coach Trent Johnson, who lost two big men to early-season knee injuries. “When we’ve struggled, it’s been that way, where we were dominated on the glass.

“Our deficiencies as a basketball team reared their ugly head again.”

Kyan Anderson’s 19 points topped TCU, which got 11 points from reserve Connell Crossland and 10 from backup Adrick McKinney.

The teams are scheduled to rematch in Fort Worth on Feb. 9.

KILICLI’S COMEBACK
About 45 minutes after the game ended, Kilicli was in a hooded sweatshirt headed out of the WVU Coliseum when he and Huggins met beneath one of the baskets. The coach broke down in a defensive stance and began instructing the 6-foot-9 forward on something that had happened earlier in the evening.

Just moments before, during the coach’s postgame news conference, Huggins gave a thumbs-up review of Kilicli’s night, even though Kilicli’s 5-of-10 shooting included some point-blank misses on post moves and putbacks.

“That is as active as Deniz has been in a long time,” he said. “He was active out on the floor, he hard hedged ball-screens well and he did a lot of positive things — aside from missing layups.”

HENDERSON RETURNS
Freshman guard Terry Henderson returned after missing two games with what Huggins described as a lower back strain. Having started three games before the injury, Henderson came off the bench Wednesday, scoring four points on 1-of-6 shooting in 23 minutes. He also collected three rebounds, one assist and one steal.

“I’m good now, ready to play,” Henderson said. “I’m glad to be back out there, because I couldn’t stand to be on the sidelines.

“If I come off the bench, that doesn’t bother me. Anyway I can contribute to help this team win, that’s what I’m going to do.”

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Comments

  • Fred

    ESPN focused on Huggs' courtside behavior and it can only hurt the program. If I were a potential recruit and watched him go off on J. Hinds the way he did, I'd say" thanks, but NO THANKS".

    • big tom

      hinds deserved it, but not on national tv and in front of everyone,,,, talk to him at half time or at least be civil with him, he's just a kid and he needs to increase his BB IQ, but let's not berate him in front of everyone,,
      that just tells me that huggs isn't a very good teacher during practices.

      • Stan

        You're berating him in front of everybody, and I call that being a hypocrite.

  • big tom

    hinds reminds me of Truck, out of control around the basket... who in the world does he think he is.... chill out dude, you're looking wild and crazy out there on the court... play under control.

    • Stan

      stop belittling the players

      • big tom

        i tell the truth, you love mediocrity

        • Stan

          I doubt you ever played a sport at the college level in your life.

  • shawn

    Some of you talk about Huggs belittling his players but some of you guys are doing the same thing. Stick with your team through good and bad.

  • Dave Warnick

    The team needs another dependable big man. They also need to stop looking so frantic, especially when the guard drives down the middle and doesn't know what to do when he gets there. Hopefully some experience will help, it has to!

  • jethro

    these players are just not very smart when it comes to playing like a team, they put up wild shots, wild passes, they need to be in control of themselves when they play , not just shooting and praying it will go in. they need to act like professionals and make better judgements.

  • Wemakerain

    I'm amused at the idea of a Turkish thug, that's like 4 different kinds of racist lol

  • David

    Show me a coach who hasn't had a down year.

    Oh yeah, you can't.

  • Nate

    After the Purdue game everyone blamed Huggins and said he needs to be fired or replaced. After last night's game which we won, you guys are still saying how bad he is and how WVU can't tolerate his behavior... Basically he can't do anything right is what you are saying, right?

    Richard, couldn't agree with you more, well said.

    • WVWho

      I think the problem with the last night was that the game was really never in doubt as TCu had more self inflicted turnovers than field goals it seemed. Instead ESPN got bored and kept showing him drilling players on the bench. Huggy needs to get a grip or he may just have a heart attack on the court.

      • Stan

        WVWho? You clearly are not a West Virginia University fan. By chance are you a Marshall fan? You probably should be posting about your team. They need all the support they can get right now. Over 100 points, wow.

        • WVWho

          It's a free country to post whatever I want whenever I want "Stan", and no I am not a Marshall fan. Don't be mad both of the big teams are now jokes in a new conference. At least there is beer now and you can pay more money to watch a trainwreck of a team!

  • big tom

    well well well,,, kilcili started, how sad, huggs either you don't go to practice or you just cant evaluate talent,, kilicili is a thug, that's it.why do you continue to start him,,
    hinds looks like the reencaranation of truck byrant. diving into the basket and just throwing it up in the air, LOL.
    And why can't Murray learn his role.
    our guys are just not very talented with very low BB iq,and that includs noreen who i really like but he doesn't know yet that he has to guard his man every time not just once in a while..course that can be said about our entire ball team

    • Stan

      Man you really like to berate the players. Your comments about the players are embarrassing to West Virginia.

      • big tom

        i don't like it either, but the truth is the truth

  • richard

    let's see......"anytime WVU scores more than 70 points and holds the other team below 70 points they almost always win". LOL, LMBO, LMAO----do you realize what you just said? kind of hard to lose when that happens!!!! people on here have no idea how stupid they sound. and as far as yelling at the players--he gets on them like he always has. as far as i'm concerned, he is the same old bob huggins. he knows how to win and he will continue to win in the years to come. one bad season and everyone wants to undercut him. he will bring many wins and great seasons to WVU in the coming years. get off his back people. why he loves this state the way he does is beyond my thinking with the way people act. he shows more class than 80 percent of the people on this site.

    • Chalkdust

      Bingo!

    • Stan

      I agree Richard. Well said. People always talk about how great Beilein was. And yeah he was a good coach, but he left. He did not care about WV enough to stay. He saw greener pastures and hit the road. So enough with the Beilein love, he is was not a West Virginian and never will be. Get off of Huggs back. He's a good coach and deserves better.

  • Larry

    This was a good win but it was expected. Any time WVU scores more than 70 points and holds the other team below 70 points they almost always win. However playing TCU is like playing a very bad Rutgers team in the Big East.

    And Please enough about the greatness of Bob Huggins. Win or lose you can always count on the Huggins Trolls to show up and talk about his greatness.

    As a rule I never berate the players. They are just kids who bought into the Huggins personna. I think that they all play hard, they are just limited by their skill level and shooting abilities.

    This team will struggle to stay away from the very bottom of this league.

    It is what it is...

  • shawn

    Get a grip dude! That's his style and it's worked for years. These kids know what they are getting into when they sign their letter. If you don't like it then don't watch. If they were 18-0 you wouldn't say a word other than Huggs is the best!

    • Chalkdust

      Try not to be an idiot. What part sounded like I didn't have his back? "Go lose wieght"? The man is a walking time bomb with all the stress, anger and wieght he carries around. I want him to fulfill his contract plus one, if he wants too.

      • shawn

        I wasn't talking to you! I was talking to Mark!

    • cutty77

      Years ago Huggs Style use to work,yes Not today.Its like wingtip shoes,they use to be in style.I couldn't believe his press conference after it was over.The Rants are getting old.

    • Bill

      Thats exactly why WVU can't get any better recruits, his style just don't cut it with these kids of today!

  • mark

    Huggs has got to get a grip. Oliver Luck MUST have a talk with him concerning his severe and constant berating of his players. It is not good for anyone involved and WVU officials cannot continue to sanction this behavior by their silence.

    • Chalkdust

      Gezz...Who here will cast the first stone? The man has taken a beating because his teams are taken a beating. Not many of you will cover his back. Now you want the long arm of the law swoop down. Shame. Nice littlem game Bob, now go lose some weight.

    • Shadow

      What is Luck's Record? As far as I am concerned it is zero on his accomplishments as AD! Kids understand the difference between helping them and condemning them. They all want to do better. The great thing about the USA is that they can walk away if they don't like it.

      • mark

        I am a Huggs fan! However, any objective person would have a hard time defending the extent to which he belittled and embarrassed his players last night. Pretend you are a potential recruit and were watching the game on ESPN. Would you be more or less inclined to play for WVU?

        • big tom

          i have to agree, his rants on the sidelines are embarrassing to wv. i certainly would rather see my kid coached by beilein than huggie,,, he has to change, or out the door. since beilein's boys have left, our program has fallen off the edge, huggie is making a mockery of wvu BB

          • Stan

            Go root for Michigan if you like Beilein so much. You are making a mockery of being a West Virginia fan.

      • JimJim

        Lucky gave us the largest state sponsored beer party on the East coast. WVU Football

    • darrell

      screaming and berating are probably to different things.

  • John Cook

    Very Good!

  • Charlie

    I am so done with Huggins. After watching his childish behavior repeatedly on national, he is an embarassment to our team, our university, and our state. His behavior is totally unacceptable and should never be allowed as a respresentation of WVU. He has totally lost his mind and needs to go. I highly recommend anger management or psychotheraphy as a way for this boy to deal with what is really important in life...he has lost it.