MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — When the Nike box with the Kyrie 4 Confetti sneakers arrived a few hours before Monday night’s game, Teddy Allen knew “I had to bust them out.”
New shoes, new plan of attack.
The freshman forward, the most vexing link in No. 20 West Virginia’s all-too-vexing season, busted out with 16 points during an 82-66 victory over TCU. After consecutive scoreless games in which he appeared for a combined 12 minutes, Allen gave his coach a reason to play him, and gave defenders a reason to reconsider their scouting reports.
“Teams were sitting on my drive, and I wasn’t taking what was given me,” Allen said. “You saw me shooting more jumpers today, and I think that will open it up for me.”
A pull-up jumper from the foul line, fade-aways in the low post, counter moves when defenders expected him to spin right.
Allen made 8-of-13 shots and paired perfectly with Beetle Bolden’s 14 points to give the Mountaineers (19-7, 8-5) decisive production off the bench, outscoring the TCU reserves 38-8.
While 11 West Virginia players saw action, Frogs coach Jamie Dixon essentially used a seven-man rotation. Guard Desmond Bane played 39 minutes despite a gimpy left knee that had him limping throughout the second half.
WVU’s balanced scoring included Daxter Miles with 13 points and Wesley Harris with 11.
While TCU’s 13 turnovers weren’t catastrophic by “Press Virginia” standards, the offensive flow wasn’t crisp and the transition opportunities dried up after a few early baskets. The nation’s ninth-best 3-point percentage team made only 6-of-17 — one of those an off-balance, 30-foot heave by Bane that beat an expiring shot clock.
“We noticed they were tired, so we stayed on the pressure,” Harris said. “We’ve got more guys than they play with.”
Bane scored 16 and Vlad Brodziansky finished with 15 for TCU (17-9, 5-8), which got nowhere near its 83 per-game scoring average and couldn’t duplicate its Jan. 22 win over West Virginia in Fort Worth.
“We just couldn’t sustain good offense,” said Dixon. “They turned the tables on us. Give them credit for responding to a loss earlier in the year and putting it on us. We got it handed to us today.”
Falling to 0-6 all-time inside the WVU Coliseum, TCU got out-rebounded 38-29 — a reversal from finishing plus-eight in the first meeting.
Allen grabbed six boards for West Virginia, his most in conference play, and did not commit a turnover while playing 24 minutes, the most action he’s earned in more than a month.
“If I’m on the court for a good amount of time, I think I can help my team,” he said.
Since a 20-point outburst against Oklahoma on Jan. 6, Allen’s attitude problems led to being benched for two games and making mere cameos in others. This marked a sort of resurfacing.
“His numbers are not what they were (earlier in the season), but he got ‘em tonight,” lamented Dixon. “He just went at us. I thought he was a big part of what they did.”
West Virginia sank 8-of-10 during a stretch in the middle of the second half, expanding a 50-45 lead out to 13 points.
Cousy Award finalist Jevon Carter — coming off a career-best 33 points against Oklahoma State — managed only nine points on 3-of-9 shooting for WVU but recorded nine assists.
TCU, needing to bolster its NCAA resume, trailed by 11 at intermission and never drew closer than five points in the second half.
The Mountaineers shot 51 percent overall, including 9-of-16 from 3. Even the 28-percent long-range shooter Harris sank 3-of-3.
“We’re not a great defensive team, but we are better than that,” Dixon said. “Our defense wasn’t very good in either half.”
Bolden jolted the Mountaineers out of a 3-of-13 shooting start with 10 points in the span of five minutes. His team closed the half on a 22-8 run.
Konate sits, Bender surprises
West Virginia led 38-27 at the half despite no contribution from one of its best defenders. Center Sagaba Konate entered as the nation’s fifth-leading shot blocker only to be yanked within the opening 3 minutes after failing to race back on a breakaway dunk.
Konate’s absence was mitigated by reserve Maciej Bender making three steals (almost matching his season total), grabbing six rebounds and blocking a shot.
“I think I helped a little bit,” Bender said.
Bob Huggins explained the quick hook on Konate:
“Sags sat over there because he didn’t believe me. I said, ‘We’re going to play hard,’ and he didn’t believe me. He believed me the second half.”
Konate’s numbers upon re-entering after intermission: Eight points, five rebounds and four blocks.
“This is who we are. You’ve got to play with who you have.” — Jamie Dixon on TCU’s limited bench
“I loved them. I’m actually about to get some too.” — Beetle Bolden on Teddy Allen’s purple-and-green Kyrie 4 Confetti shoes