KANSAS CITY, MO.–West Virginia finally earned a win in the Big 12 tournament on Thursday night.
Devin Williams had 18 points and 13 rebounds, helping the second-seeded Mountaineers beat TCU 86-66 in the quarterfinals.
“I mean, I guess it’s our first time being in the Big 12, to get a win in the tournament, so I guess that’s somewhat of an accomplishment,” Williams said. “But we are here to win a championship, so, you know, all we can do is just use this to move forward and clean up what we did today and just, you know, move forward.”
Chauncey Collins led the 10th-seeded Horned Frogs (12-21) with 18 points. Malique Trent had 15 points and four assists. JD Miller added 12 and Vlad Brodziansky 11.
WVU (25-7) started the game 4-of-4 from beyond the arc. Carter drained a 3 to give WVU a 6-2 lead. A minute later the sophomore guard nailed another to make it 9-4 with 17:51 remaining in the first half.
Phillip got in on the action to put the Mountaineers in front 15-6 when he hit a 3-pointer. Collins responded with a jumper, but Phillip hit another 3 to put WVU up 18-8 with 13:45 left in the first half.
“Well, they shot the ball, I thought, very well and shot it from deep,” Mountaineers head coach Bob Huggins said. “Did a really good job with the zone, did a really good job of matching up with us. That’s kind of what we do. You know, we continue to pressure. And it is an accumulative affect, hopefully it is, that we get to their legs a little bit and they start to miss some shots.”
WVU shot 55.6 percent from the field and made 11-of-24 from 3-point range.
TCU had nothing to lose coming into the tournament and they fought a hard-fought battle. The pesky Horned Frogs trailed 63-55 after Trent connected on a 3-pointer, but Paige answered with a 3 to give the Mountaineers an 11-point cushion with 10 minutes to go.
Minutes later Paige hit his second 3-pointer and Daxter Miles Jr. buried a 3 with 6:37 left to put WVU up 72-59.
The Mountaineers pulled away from there to win their fifth straight.
WVU forced 14 turnovers and had eight steals. The Mountaineers had a 36-32 advantage on the glass.
“I mean, West Virginia is a good team,” Collins said. “Their pressure is amazing. Really, you know, like I said, they did wear me down. I had to put the ball in other people’s hands and we had step up and make plays, and we didn’t make enough.”
“To beat this team, you have to have four or five guys who can really handle the ball, a mobile post or a stretch forward who can handle the ball,” TCU head coach Trent Johnson said. “JD Miller, as a freshman, he did a really good job at certain times, but then he made some ill-advised decisions, which you expect from a freshman versus teams like that.”
Williams’ 18 points tied the school record for points in a Big 12 championship game. The juniors’ 13 rebounds broke Aaron Murray’s rebounding record.
Brandon Parrish was scoreless against WVU on 0-for-5 shooting. TCU shot 35.2 percent from the floor and made 5-of-19 from long range.
The Mountaineers will face the winner of the Iowa State/ Oklahoma game in the semifinals on Friday evening.