The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

January 5, 2014

WVU strong late to beat TCU

Staten takes over down stretch as Mountaineers win in Big 12 opener

MORGANTOWN — Sometimes you can’t win, as TCU coach Trent Johnson learned Saturday afternoon as West Virginia University beat his Horned Frogs, 74-69, in the Big 12 opener for both teams.

As advertised, his is a much-improved team over a year ago and, as advertised, going into Fort Worth wasn’t an easy win for the Mountaineers, who are now 9-5.

In fact, with 7:56 left in the game point guard Kyan Anderson was charged with his fourth foul.

Of all the players TCU could lose, Anderson was the one who would hurt the most.

He is their engine, their heartbeat, so to speak. He controls the ball and often controls the ball game.

So here was Trent Johnson, caught in a difficult situation.

The “book,” as if there really was one, called for Johnson to take his best player out of the game and try and buy some time for four or five minutes, hoping to stay close and have him down the stretch.

Johnson, however, opted to gamble, leaving him in the game. The trouble with that gamble was that he was dealing with loaded dice. No matter how he rolled them, they were going to come up craps.

They did.

Less than a minute and a half later, WVU found itself off and running in transition.

Anderson tried to stop them.

Exit Anderson.

The game was over right there.

“I wasn’t surprised he left Kyan in,” WVU coach Bob Huggins said. “They were trying to win. They thought the 2-3 zone would keep him in the game, but the foul came in transition.”

With Anderson out of the game, TCU was left with no one who could guard Mountaineer point guard Juwan Staten, and he began looking like Kobe Bryant playing against a CYO team.

Staten completely took over the game.

There had been many heroes earlier. Eron Harris had played through the flu that kept him from starting the game to score 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting as he lived up to his billing as the Big 12’s leading scorer.

Nathan Adrian, after a rocky start, took the game over in the final minutes of the first half, grabbing offensive rebounds, sinking baskets, turning up the defense with three steals and even going to the free-throw line and making free throws for the first time in his Mountaineer career.

You read that right. Adrian finally had a foul-shooting experience … and he sank both free throws.

Toss in 12 points and 8 rebounds from Devin Williams and it’s obvious that Staten had a lot of help along the way, but come crunch time he became Captain Crunch.

In a way, it is the way basketball is supposed to work. You have a lead late and you put the ball in the hands of your point guard, but this was exaggerated as Kyan Anderson sat helplessly watching from the bench, the only stat mattering to him being the five fouls even though he had scored 12 points, had four assists, four assists and a steal.

Over the final 8 minutes of the game, Staten scored 11 of WVU’s final 19 points and he scored the final nine, being the only Mountaineer to score in the 4:09 of the game.

“He had the ball the whole time – which is what we wanted,” Huggins said. “He does a great job of getting it into the lane and getting to the basket and he’s hard to stay in front of.”

“That’s the part of the game I look forward to the most,” Staten said. “I know the ball is going to be in my hands a lot, and I’ll be counted on to make the right plays. That’s what we needed there. We needed the right play. We needed to come down and have smart possessions when the game got close.”

It started with 4:09 to go when Staten made 1-of-2 free throws after having been fouled by Parrish to make it 66-62.

He followed that up with another 1-for-2 from the line to make it 67-62, but Parrish’s wide-open 3 cut the lead to a deuce, as shaky as it gets when you aren’t playing on your home floor.

But Staten worked his way into the lane for a jump shot to make it a four-point lead and shrugged off another TCU basket by just being too quick for anyone as he drove for yet another layup for a 69-65 lead.

TCU scored again to cut it to two points and when Staten actually missed an easy layup after going past his man for the fourth straight time down the floor TCU turned the ball over.

Staten still had another layup and free throw in him to clinch it, then fittingly scored the final basket after Terry Henderson made a spectacular block of shot, the ball rolling toward mid-court where Staten — who else? – ran it down and scored.

The game was as close as it was because TCU managed somehow to make its first seven 3-point shots, allowing them to take an early lead.

“Let’s be honest; they were 7-of-7 from 3, and that has not been their forte,” Huggins said. “They weren’t going to continue to make shots like they were making.”

They didn’t. The Horned Frogs made just two of their next 12 3s.

The victory put the Mountaineers at 1-0 in Big 12 play as they headed for Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas, for Monday night’s second game on this two-game Texas swing to open the conference schedule.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN- WVU faithful again have a reason to root against Vick

    It would be one final indignation, that’s what it would be if Michael Vick were to beat out Geno Smith and win the starting quarterback job with the New York Jets.

    April 23, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Luck open to WVU fans’ suggestions

    West Virginia’s fans have spoken, perhaps not verbally but nonetheless have had their voices heard, over the past few years as attendance has fallen at the Mountaineers’ football and basketball games.

    April 22, 2014

  • Mountaineers ready for slate of rivalry games

    Looking to put together a late-season run to get into the NCAA championships, West Virginia faces a pair of midweek rivalry games in a crucial five-game week coming off winning two of three games at Oklahoma.

    April 22, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Summer, Alabama will be used to get WVU’s mind right

    The ink had barely dried on the final reports out of West Virginia’s spring practice when thoughts turned forward toward the lazy, hazy days of late summer, days that will bring us into football season with a game that can either change the entire image of WVU football or sour it even further.

    April 21, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Watson tees off a new century at The Greenbrier

    You knew this was going to be one of those unpredictable, memorable days when you drove into the Greenbrier Resort and headed to the Old White Golf Course and found the best parking place in the joint.
    As Bob Uecker would say, right there in the front rooooow.

    April 20, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Jackie Robinson’s impact extends beyond baseball

    It is Jackie Robinson Day as I sit here writing this today, and I feel as though I am doing it in a world gone mad.
    Every player in Major League Baseball wore No. 42 on Tuesday in honor of Jackie Robinson, the man who took racism’s best shot and integrated the game that was known then as the National Pastime even though it was as white a Ku Klux Klan robe.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads