No. 14 TCU takes its fastbreaking show on the road in search of consecutive victories when its squares off against struggling West Virginia on Wednesday in Big 12 Conference action at Morgantown, W.Va.
The Horned Frogs (14-3, 3-2 Big 12) bounced back from last-minute losses to Iowa State and Texas with a dominating 82-68 victory over then-No. 11 Kansas State on Saturday, a result that snapped the Wildcats’ nine-game winning streak.
Emanuel Miller scored a season-high 23 points in the win. Eddie Lampkin Jr. added 17 points for TCU. Mike Miles Jr. recorded his first career double-double with 13 points and 11 assists, and Damion Baugh hit for 11 points.
The Horned Frogs are one of the best transition teams in the nation and showed it with 32 fastbreak points in the Saturday win. TCU also forced 20 turnovers that it turned into 26 points and had 54 points in the paint to make up for a 3-of-19 showing from beyond the arc.
“We sustained defensively this entire game, and that was something we’ve got to continue to do,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. “Not easy to do because we’re playing against very good teams. This is the best league in the country. It’s not even close.”
Miles said the Horned Frogs’ mentality was to attack throughout and that the same philosophy will be needed as TCU plays consecutive road games against West Virginia and No. 2 Kansas this week.
“Just stay together — that’s two good teams we’re playing on the road and we know we can beat any team,” Miles said. “We got to play like we know we can play — play defense, get out in transition, be together and everything else will take care of itself.”
The Mountaineers (10-7, 0-5) will look to get back on track after dropping their first five league games, the latest a 77-76 setback at Oklahoma on Saturday. It was the 12th straight road conference loss for West Virginia over the past two seasons.
Tre Mitchell led West Virginia with 16 points against the Sooners. Joe Toussaint contributed 14 points off the bench, Kedrian Johnson scored 13 and Emmitt Matthews Jr. finished with 11.
West Virginia played well enough on defense to prevail, holding the Sooners without a field goal over the final 6:14 of the game. But the Mountaineers couldn’t get it done from the charity stripe, going 4-for-8 on fouls shots over the final 4 1/2 minutes of the game while Oklahoma went 11-for-14.
The Mountaineers have had second-half leads in three of their five conference losses, and Saturday’s game was tied with a minute remaining. But West Virginia’s misses on free throws were too much to overcome; the Mountaineers are shooting only a conference-worst 60.8 percent from the stripe in Big 12 play.
“I don’t know what to say, and I don’t know what to do,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said about the misses from the line. “I do make them make a hundred before they leave the gym. We started doing the 90 percent drill (miss and run), but it’s hard to do that this time of year. Running them extra when you play so many games in a short period of time doesn’t help you either.”
–Field Level Media