Harris leads West Virginia past TCU in 71-50 victory
MORGANTOWN -- Eron Harris scored a career-high 19 points Wednesday night to help lead West Virginia over TCU 71-50 in their first-ever meeting.
The two opponents, in their first season in the Big 12 Conference, were fighting losing streaks coming in. The Mountaineers (9-9, 2-3) had dropped three straight, while TCU (9-10, 0-6) has lost six straight conference games for the first time since the 2001-02 season.
Harris, a freshman who has started the last three games, hit 5 of 6 shots, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range, and made 7 of 10 free throws to surpass his 17 points against Iowa State two games ago.
West Virginia's point total was its highest in five Big 12 Conference games, and the Horned Frogs' 50 points were the lowest total against the Mountaineers by a league opponent.
The Mountaineers came in battling a couple of negative trends. They had lost four of their last five and were under .500 for the first time this late in a season since 2002-2003, when former coach John Beilein's first Mountaineers group finished 14-15.
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins was trying to avoid a fourth straight loss for the first time since his first season at Akron, when the Zips dropped four in a row from Jan. 12-19, 1985.
Instead, he ran his overall coaching record to 719-273 in 31 seasons, tying Don Haskins for 19th place all time in Division I wins. He is also the third-winningest active coach.
For TCU, the drought continues. It has yet to win a Big 12 game since coming over from the Mountain West this season.
The Horned Frogs were last in the 10-team Big 12 in scoring offense (54.8 points per game) and shooting percentage (35.7) and did little to remedy that Wednesday.
The Frogs were a paltry 7-of-24 (29.2 percent) in the first half when they fell behind 35-22. They did notch 50 percent of their shots in the second half (10 of 20) to finish at 38.6 (17 of 44) for the game.
Kyan Anderson scored 19 points to lead TCU, Connell Crossland added 11 points and Adrick McKinney 10.
Meanwhile, West Virginia, which was eighth in the 10-team league in scoring (67 points per game) and field-goal percentage (37.4), improved significantly.
The Mountaineers connected on 25 of 58 shots (43.1 percent), taking 14 more shots and making eight more than the Horned Frogs.
The difference was largely due to rebounds. West Virginia entered the game seventh in Division I in offensive rebounds per game (15.2) and improved that figure against TCU.
They outrebounded the Frogs 19-8 on the offensive glass and owned a 42-30 bulge for total rebounds.
Deniz Kilicli, starting for West Virginia for the first time since the Big 12 opener, and Dominique Rutledge each pulled down a game-high eight boards.
Kilicli also scored 11 points for the Mountaineers, and Jabarie Hinds added 10.
West Virginia outscored TCU 34-26 in the paint, 20-11 off turnovers, 16-4 on second-chance points, 8-2 off the fast break and 29-22 from the bench.
TCU committed 17 turnovers to 10 for West Virginia. The Mountaineers stole the ball 12 times compared to four for TCU.
West Virginia led by 21 points, 49-28, with 12:58 to go. A 14-4 run brought TCU within 53-42 with 8:05 to go, but they never got closer.