By Jamie Plunkett
Frogs Today staff writer
TCU is still searching for its first win at West Virginia since joining the Big 12 Conference.
The Horned Frogs fell to 14-4 on the season and 3-3 in Big 12 play following their 74-65 loss to West Virginia on Wednesday night. TCU is now 0-11 at West Virginia since 2012.
It was, in a word, ugly.
TCU set a season-high with 19 turnovers, lost the rebounding battle by 12, and couldn’t get out in transition, scoring just eight fast-break points. The Frogs entered the game leading the country with 22 points per game in transition.
Mike Miles Jr. led the Frogs with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the floor. The senior is averaging 20.7 points per game in conference play this season.
Emanuel Miller and Damion Baugh contributed 13 points each. Miller added five rebounds and five steals, while Baugh added four assists and two steals.
Kedrian Johnson led the way with 20 points for West Virginia while big man Jimmy Bell recorded a 15-point, 12-rebound double-double.
West Virginia’s game plan was apparent from the start: keep TCU from getting easy points in transition. The Mountaineers got back well after missed shots and played tight defense on Miles and Baugh in space, never allowing the Frogs’ guards to get comfortable and find the open man.
Meanwhile, Bell used his 6-foot-10, 285-pound frame to bully the Frogs in the paint. TCU didn’t have an answer for the big man, as Eddie Lampkin played only 18 minutes before fouling out.
Bell’s presence drew a significant amount of attention, allowing other Mountaineers to crash and pull down offensive rebounds. West Virginia recorded 14 offensive rebounds resulting in 14 second-chance points, including two crucial free throws as TCU attempted to make a comeback late.
TCU fell behind early, largely due to turnovers and poor rebounding. The Frogs trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half, and found themselves behind 56-39 with 11:23 remaining in the game.
The Frogs used a 10-2 run to pull within nine as the game clock wound under eight minutes.
A Chuck O’Bannon free throw with 7:52 got the Frogs to within eight, 58-50. Miller forced a turnover on the other end of the court, which drew ire from West Virginia. The result was a technical foul, and Miles made both free throws to bring the Frogs to within six.
Minutes later, a fast-break basket by JaKobe Coles brought the Frogs to within two, 62-60, with 5:14 to play.
From that point on the Frogs shot just 2-of-6 with three turnovers. West Virginia regained its footing and extended the lead back to 11 with 57 seconds to go after an offensive rebound led to free throws for Johnson.
A Baugh 3-pointer cut TCU’s deficit to eight, but it would be the last made basket of the night for the Frogs.
Questionable officiating certainly wasn’t the reason for TCU’s loss, but it’s worth noting that 41 fouls were called, including two technical fouls. TCU’s bench received a technical foul in the first half, as coach Jamie Dixon protested a foul call.
West Virginia’s Tre Mitchell fouled out on a technical foul after a ball was called out of bounds on him.
Miles, who was called for four fouls, was hit with three offensive fouls for pushing off. Miles was visibly frustrated by the officiating, but managed to get one good joke in with officials near the end of the game.
TCU continues its road trip at noon Saturday at Kansas.
Jamie Plunkett, firstname.lastname@example.org