MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Daxter Miles Jr. tied a season-high 22 points and No. 7 West Virginia University defeated TCU 82-70 on Saturday afternoon at the Coliseum.
“They’re a whole lot better than they were a year ago,” head coach Bob Huggins said. “They keep coming at you.”
The Mountaineers (13-2, 2-1 Big 12) bounced back from a disappointing loss to Texas Tech on Tuesday night.
Esa Ahmad scored 16 points. Jevon Carter and Sagaba Konate both had 13 in the win.
Despite scoring just four points, Nathan Adrian grabbed nine rebounds and had several clutch defensive plays for WVU.
“I think part of the reason Nate has struggled to make shots is because we ask him to do so much,” Huggins said. “You know we talk about taking legs away from people and I think we do that to him. When you play 34 minutes a game, that’s a lot of minutes. I wanted to play Magic (freshman Maciej Bender) and we didn’t play him at all. The game didn’t go the way we wanted it.”
Alex Robinson led the Horned Frogs (12-3, 1-2) with 17 points and Vlad Brodziansky added 14.
TCU was able to move the ball on the Mountaineers but sloppy play proved costly against the press. WVU forced 18 turnovers, leading to 28 points.
Miles putback dunk off Carter’s miss gave the Mountaineers a 16-13 lead with 10:32 left in the first.
WVU used a 7-0 run capped by Tarik Phillip’s layup to take a 26-18 lead with 6:59 to play in the half, forcing the Horned Frogs to call a timeout.
The Mountaineers took a 39-28 lead to the locker room at the half.
But the Horned Frogs came firing back in the second half, using a 7-0 run to pull within four but WVU answered with six straight to regain the momentum.
“We changed up a little bit on some things and we finished better at the end,” TCU head coach Jamie Dixon said. “We had a couple plays that we threw deep and I think that loosened it up a bit. We got layups and attempts at the basket so that was it. So we changed it up a little bit but we knew that going in that we’d be adjusting and changing some things. But we tied it up.”
After hustling at the defensive end, Carter finds Ahmad, who finished with a monstrous dunk to put the Mountaineers ahead 51-40 with 14:27 to play.
The Horned Frogs refused to go away. Brodziansky made two free throws and back-to-back 3s by Michael Williams and Robinson cut the deficit to one.
Carter found his rhythm in the second half and draining a 3 from the top of the key. Then the junior responded to Desmond Bane’s 3-pointer with another of his own to give WVU a 71-63 lead with 4:24 to go.
Konate’s tip-in off Carter’s miss extended the Mountaineers’ lead to 11 and Miles’ 3-pointer from the wing put the Mountaineers up 80-65 with 2:15 remaining, putting TCU away for good.
“We knew that we had to stay together,” Ahmad said. “That’s a big thing. It’s family. We know we’re going to go through adversity. None of these games is going to be easy but we stuck together and pulled it out.”
WVU shot 46 percent from the floor, 30 percent from 3-point range and 64 percent from the free throw line.
TCU shot 46 percent from the field and 36 percent from beyond the arc.
The Mountaineers hosts No.2 Baylor on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
Cover Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS