Monday, May 22, 2017

Mountaineers looking to make history with tournament win

KANSAS CITY, Mo.–Unlike last year, the Mountaineers enter the second round of the Big 12 tournament with a fully healthy team.

Fans watched Jonathan Holton get injured in the regular season finale at Baylor. The sprained ankle kept Holton out of practice on Monday.

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Jonathan Holton and Tarik Phillip share a laugh at the WVU shoot around Wednesday at the Sprint Center. (Photo credit: Kelsie VanderWijst)

However, Holton was able to practice on Wednesday, and Bob Huggins  said his forward, who averages 9.4 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game, is “ready to go.”

Wednesday evening, after a 67-62 upset over seventh seeded Texas Tech, it was decided that WVU will face the TCU Horned Frogs in the quarterfinal match-up.

Today’s tip-off is set for 7 p.m. on ESPNU.

In the two regular season games in which these teams met, the  Mountaineers took both games; winning 95-87 on the road and 73- 42  at the Coliseum.

In the first meeting between these two teams, guards Tarik Phillip and Jaysean Paige, both off the bench, had to mount a comeback after being down with 5:56 to go.

Despite only shooting 37.5 percent from inside the arc in the second match-up, WVU’s 50 rebounds to TCU’s 35 helped give the Mountaineers the edge in their 31-point victory. Holton and Esa Ahamad lead the team in points with fourteen each.

WVU's Jonathan Holton (1) takes a shot between TCU's Chris Washburn (33)  and Vlad Brodziansky (10) on Saturday, February 13, 2016. (Photo Credit-Ben Queens- USA Today Sports)

WVU’s Jonathan Holton (1) takes a shot between TCU’s
Chris Washburn (33) and Vlad Brodziansky (10) on Saturday, February 13, 2016.
(Photo Credit-Ben Queens- USA Today Sports)

The player to watch for the Horned Frogs is sophomore guard, Chauncey Collins. He put 20 points on the board against the Mountaineers in January. He also had 20 of TCU’s 42 points in game two. On Wednesday against Tech, Collins led the team in 40 minutes of game time with 19 points.

West Virginia leads the all-time series 8-0.

After three complete seasons in the league, the Mountaineers are looking for their first win in a Big 12 tournament. WVU fell by two to Texas Tech in 2013, by 17 points to Texas two years ago and by 10 points to Baylor last year.

If the Mountaineers take the victory, they will face the winner of the two nationally ranked teams– Oklahoma versus Iowa State– at 8 p.m. on Friday (ESPN2).

(Feature Photo credit Ben Queens- USA Today Sports)

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