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

  • richard

    oooops.......teach------lol. see what i mean?

  • richard

    omg mountaineerman1, if you're a professor at WVU-----lord help the students. you can't spell and your use of words aren't correct. you need to be fired if you tech the way you spell.

  • jake_d

    Look at the class Huggs has coming in next year. Look at how Harris and Henderson are developing. In 2 years we will be challenging for the Big 12 title and making a deep run in the tourney. We'll see how many people are bashing Huggy Bear then.

  • pghmountaineer

    Let me pose this thought. What if Oliver Luck came to the bench during a time out in the game and publicy abused Huggs just like he talks to his players. Would Huggs appreciate it?
    I think we all know the answer to that.

  • WILLIAM

    WHY WOULD ANY BASKETBALL PLAYER EVER COME TO WVU TO PLAY FOR THIS COACH! ANY BASKETBLL RECRUITS OUT THERE, STAY AWAY FROM WVU BECAUSE THIS COACH THROWS HIS PLAYERS WAY UNDER THE BUS!

  • chad

    I'm gussing you people have never watched a Kentucky Game. John Calllipari chews his players out every bit as bad as huggs does. As does Coach K at Duke (god only knows how to spell his name) as did Jim Calhoun at UCONN. I bet yall have never watche Nick Saban on the sideliines at Alabama. He isn't doing much huggin and kissin down there.

    • WVWho

      How many titles has Huggs won? Or how many players of his are playing in the pros?

      Stupid comment.

    • Stan

      Man, how much do I like this comment.

  • MountaineerMan1

    My young son and I went to the game and sat 3 rows behind Coach Huggins and the team. As this was the first time I sat down that low, It is really worse than it looks on the TV. He berated numerous of his players, with the most hatrated foul language possible. His players look totally afraid of him, afraid to play for fear of screwing up and getting jerked to the bench only to get a major ear and face full of disgusting hate. Huggs looks and sounds psychotic. I really felt bad and embarraced for our team and University. Instead of coaching and mentoring this mostly young and inexperienced team, he seems to have resourted to being a tyrant and dominating dictator, demanding wins by any mean spirted methods possible. Any decent future prospect should be leary of signing on to play at WVU under this coach. Even after the team won by 21 points, NO one on that bench appeared to be happy, satisfied or having any fun. As a professor at WVU, born and raise in Fairmont and Morgantown, and life long fan, I was very disappointed in our coach, and my experience was not what I expected, nor deserve for what I paid for those tickets! I suggest Mr. Luck have a long conversation with Huggs and begin the process for Huggs to either change or be changed!

  • pghmountaineer

    Stan. My heart says I gree with you. My head says no way that's going to happen.

  • Stan

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/news/story?id=5040010

    It's an old story, but a good one. The difference between the Bob Huggins in that story and the Bob Huggins now, is that Bob Huggins was winning. Now that he's losing we see all the roaches come out of the woodwork to attack the man. He's the same coach. His players loved him then, and they will love him again. He won then and he will win again.

  • richard

    big tom uses the words " i have 2 degrees from wvu" and " i am a fan" to hide behind. you aren't a fan! say what you want about being a fan, but a fan doesn't cut down their team or coach like you do. a real fan will voice their concerns, not cut, degrade and try their best to make the teams look bad. you stooped to calling stan an idiot. why? run out of words? he didn't call you any type of names. just said what was on his mind in a decent manner. okay, now come back at me and call me a name and say wvu is a middle of the road program and cut huggins down like you always do. i expect no less from you tom. if i was metro news i wouldn't post your comments anymore because you are going to do nothing but start a fight and be trouble. are you listening metro news??? stop trouble before it starts. live up to your policy of not printing deragatory words.

  • Tired of antics...

    I am sick of Huggins acting like an idiot too. I think he would get more out of his players if he would coach them instead of insult them. He wants to blame everyone else except himself. There is great talent on this team. It seems like he is too tired and unmotivated. He might be burned out of coaching. I hate to say it because we just signed a big contract extension. I hope he proves us critics wrong. I will owe him an apology.

  • Pghmountaineer

    Rob, you are right. I can't believe any of his players are motivated by his belittling behavior on the side line. Just look at them. None of them appear like they're enjoying themselves out there. There really isn;t any team work on the floor. I think these guys are so afraid to make a mistake that they aren't playing up to their potential. I mean how can you shoot the ball from 4 or 5 feet and it's an airball. That to me is someone who is very tight and fearfull of making a mistake.
    There's no way these kids will ever come together with a tyrant coahcing them. Just go back and look at Bob Knight's last 5 to 7 years as a coach. He didn't win anything and never got a big time recruit. All that screaming and yelling at players gets you nothing but a bunch of guys who are afraid to make a mistake.

    • Larry

      Pghmountaineer and Rob both speak with great wisdom.

  • Rob

    And further, if anyone is listening to Hugg's show tonight, someone just asked that exact question we're talking about, berating the players, etc. He absolutely defends his action and feels it's justified. He pretty much made fun of the person that asked the question. He talks about he can't fire them. He talks about how they knew what they were getting into, but he never addressed the comment about his player attacks. And then he goes on talking about how "stupid" the players are, making fun of one for thinking TCU was Tennessee Christian. That is pretty weak, but I'm not sure it's something you make fun of someone for on public radio. This is over the top. And before you Huggs lovers start on me, I've been a fan forever, I was thrilled when Huggs came, and I respect his talent. I've just never seen this side of him. Yelling and personal character attacks are two very different things.

  • Rob

    I have had it, I’m almost done. Call me a fair weather fan, call me anything you want but last night was the limit for me. I’m done watching a maniacal Bob Huggins scream and belittle West Virginia players in front of the coliseum crowd and a national ESPN audience. These players are mostly young and I don’t claim to be a coach or know how to coach but I do know that in successful programs the players enjoy themselves. These guys are so paranoid that they can’t do anything. They are literally scared to death when they are on the floor. Huggins has them so intimidated they are a nervous wreck. This isn’t only my opinion, I can tell you that everyone around me at the TCU game shared this opinion. If you’ll notice there were no ripples of laughter through the crowd as Huggins screamed at the players like there was the first few games. People are just fed up. It’s ridiculous to watch and it’s an embarrassment to the school and the athletic program.
    Then, after the game, you get in your car and get to listen to Coach Huggins berate and condemn the players for another 20 minutes all the way home! That is of course every player but his blessed Kilicli who he insists on playing. Tonight he spent 3 minutes explaining to Jay why Kilicli can’t hit a shot because he has “bad balance.” Duh! If he has bad balance and he can’t correct it, then why is he playing 10-15 minutes a game? He is terrible yet Huggs continues to play him and continues to defend him. Then in the next question about Rutledge having a good game tonight, Huggs breaks into a rant about the stuff Rutledge did wrong. It’s unbelievable to hear a coach talk about his players like this, I don’t care how bad they are…..and yes they are bad. But die-hard fans suck it up and live through the bad seasons and still enjoy the game and the sport and they understand development. That said, the coach should let us do the complaining and his job is to defend the players and the program and assure us that it’s a development year with new players and a young team or whatever. We don’t want to hear from our coach how bad our players are. Let the bloggers and ESPN do that, and we’ll have fun bitching back at them and complaining about what they say. But our own coach could be one of those naysayer WV bloggers the way he talks about the players.

  • John

    This team unfortunately is very difficult to watch. They are fundamentally horrible and it looks as if they have no understanding of situations they are in during the coarse of the game. This is where Huggs is frustrated because it is a direct reflection upon him and his staff. They look very disenchated with the game itself and there basketball IQ is unbelievably bad. I have faith in Huggs but he better lighten up with the way today's athletes are.