West Virginia Back at It Tonight Vs. TCU

Mountaineers look to build new winning streak

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia (16-3, 5-2 Big 12) will put its No. 6 ranking on the line when it takes on No. 24 ranked Texas Christian University (14-5, 2-5) in the second game of ESPN’s ‘Big Monday’ contests tonight in Schollmaier Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.

Tipoff is slated for 9 p.m. with Bob Wischusen, Fran Fraschilla and Holly Rowe providing the coverage.

The Mountaineers are coming off a 35-point, 86-51, dismantling of the University of Texas while the Horned Frogs look to bounce back from a 73-68 loss at Kansas State on Saturday.

Senior Jevon Carter paced WVU’s scoring with a game-high 22 points and eight assists. Joining him in double digits was sophomore James ‘Beetle’ Bolden (19), senior Daxter Miles Jr. (15) and sophomore Sagaba Konate (10 points, 14 rebounds, 6 blocked shots).

“I told them after the first half that if you don’t know what you’re doing come over and sit down,” explained Huggins, who picked up is 835th career victory. “We got second-chance opportunities and were able to turn them over a bit.”

The win put to rest the Mountaineers’ first two-game losing skid of the year — 72-71 at Texas Tech and 71-66 at home against Kansas.

“It felt good to get back in the win column,” junior Esa Ahmad said.

Ahmad, who missed the first 16 games of the season while serving an NCAA-mandated suspension, averaged 16.5 points per game since his return, but was limited to eight points and seven rebounds in 26 minutes of action against the Longhorns.

“When we get Esa back to where he should be, he’ll be a very good 3-man,” Huggins said.

“We’ll play him at 3 or 4, but not at 2.”

Where ever Ahmad plays, he will continue to come off the bench as Huggins will continue with his normal starting lineup of Carter (16.9) and Miles Jr. (13.1) at the guards and sophomores Lamont West (11.4), Wesley Harris (5.9) and Konate (9.3) at the forwards.

They will be challenged by a Horned Frog starting five which will have senior Kenrich Williams (14.7), junior Alex Robinson (7.8) and sophomore Desmond Bane (11.5) at the guards with senior Vlad Brodziansky (15.4) and junior JD Miller (10.7) at the forwards.

WVU won both contests last season, however, the game in Fort Worth wasn’t decided until the final seconds.

After a Miles Jr. free throw handed the Mountaineers a one-point, 61-60, lead with 4.8 seconds, the Horned Frogs got the ball up the court and into the hands of Desmond Bane on the right wing.

But, his game-winning, 3-point try was wide left as time expired.

The Mountaineers shot a dismal 37 percent from the floor, including 21.4 percent from 3 — an ailment that continues to haunt them prior to the second half of Saturday’s win over Texas. Making matters worse was a 10-for-15 showing at the charity stripe and so-so effort on the glass.

Carter tallied a team-high 15 points for the Mountaineers while West and Konate chipped in with four points each in limited playing time.

Sophomore Jaylen Fisher scored a game-high 18 points for TCU.

“The quick turnaround doesn’t leave us much time to prepare,” Ahmad said. “But, they are in the same situation. It’s going to come down to making shots and playing solid defense.”

Proving that the more things change, the more they stay the same.