On Saturday, WVU honored their seniors and sent them off in ideal fashion with a 70-64 win over TCU.
West Virginia (15-16, 4-14 Big 12) ended the season by breaking out of its seven-game losing streak, and possibly built up some confidence heading into Big 12 Tournament play.
The Mountaineers got off to a fast start, starting the game up 8-2 after Taz Sherman scored five early points along with a Jalen Bridges dunk. Before the first media timeout, WVU extended its lead to 12-4 after another bucket from Bridges and an and-one layup by Kedrian Johnson.
The Mountaineers kept up the intensity in the early parts of the first half, as TCU head coach Jamie Dixon called a timeout after the Mountaineers extended their lead to 19-9. Taz Sherman had 10 points within the first 10 minutes of the game.
WVU maintained their lead for the whole first half, but saw it get cut to two points late in the half. After TCU cut the lead to two, WVU scored five straight points off a Taz Sherman three-pointer and a layup by Pauly Paulicap.
With 34 seconds left in the half, TCU’s Micah Peavy converted an and-one layup to cut the WVU lead to four points. As the half was coming to a close, WVU’s Jalen Bridges made a step-in jump shot with three seconds to go. The Mountaineers took a 39-33 lead into halftime, as Taz Sherman led all scorers with 13 points.
To start the second half, Taz Sherman made a quick jumper, but the basket was answered by a 7-0 run from TCU that included a Mike Miles three-pointer. Once TCU cut the WVU lead to one point, Eddie Lampkin was assessed a technical foul when he got caught saying something to Bob Huggins.
In the first 10 minutes of the second half, TCU chipped away at the WVU lead by forcing turnovers and getting easy buckets and layups.
The Horned Frogs tied the game at the 10:51 mark when Mike Miles made a jumper. TCU took the lead and extended it to four points with two straight easy layups from Damion Baugh.
TCU extended its lead to six points after a pair of free throws from Micah Peavy and a made jumper by Mike Miles.
After the Miles jumper, WVU scored six straight points when Taz Sherman, Gabe Osabuohien, and Malik Curry all made layups. With under five minutes to play, the game was now tied.
The teams exchanged free throws and with four minutes to go, the score was 60-60.
Neither team scored until the 1:47 mark when Taz Sherman made two free throws to give WVU a 62-60 lead.
After getting a stop, the Mountaineers extended their late lead to four points when Taz Sherman got downhill and made a layup with 1:06 left to play.
The Mountaineer defense got another stop, and Jalen Bridges was fouled with 21 seconds left. Bridges made both free throws to make the score 66-60.
TCU’s Chuck O’Bannon made one out of two free throws to cut the WVU lead to 66-61 with 15 seconds to go, but Sean McNeil answered with two free throws of his own.
With seven seconds left, Mike Miles hoisted a long three-pointer that went in to cut the WVU lead to 68-64.
However, TCU could not force the late turnover, and Sean McNeil closed the game with two more free throws. WVU finally was able to seal a win late in the game, as they came away with the 70-64 victory.
Taz Sherman led all scorers with 25 points while shooting 9-for-17 from the field. WVU also had three other scorers reach 10 points, and they were Jalen Bridges, Malik Curry, and Sean McNeil.
WVU head coach Bob Huggins talked about his team finishing off the win today.
“Well, I thought defensively, we were good,” Huggins said.
Huggins’s assessment was correct, as the Mountaineers gave up just five points in the closing five minutes of the game.
Huggins also spoke about sending the seniors off in the right way.
“Well, we had practice. I lost track of days, but we had really good, spirited practice,” Huggins said. “I talked to everybody about how it is a sad day when it’s over. We talked about that, and we talked about how close we’ve been and just haven’t finished. That was their message to each other in the huddle, that we are going to finish this one.”
After the game, fifth year senior guard Malik Curry talked about what his one year in West Virginia has meant to him.
“It’s crazy to be playing my last game in the Coliseum,” Curry said. “I remember the first game that we played, it was rocking in here, something that I’ve never experienced in college yet, so I’m just thankful to be a part of West Virginia.”
The star of the evening, fifth year senior Taz Sherman, spoke about performing well on senior day.
“Being able to put on a good performance, you know, you never know when it’s somebody’s first time watching you play, and you never know if it’s going to be their last time watching you play neither, so just put on a show when you can,” Sherman said.
Now that the regular season has come to an end, West Virginia will head to Kansas City for the Big 12 Tournament. The Mountaineers will play on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. but the opponent has not been determined yet.