The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

January 24, 2013

WVU ends slide, tops punchless Horned Frogs

MORGANTOWN — If West Virginia University’s basketball team were fishing rather than playing basketball, it probably would have thrown back the victory it gained against TCU, a winless team in the Big 12 that reminds you of the fact every time it goes up and down the court.

But when you have lost three consecutive games, as had the Mountaineers, and when you need that victory, no matter how unimpressive, to even your season record at 9-9 and to hopefully inspire you on some kind of run that can get you into the postseason, you treat the victory as if it were a trophy fish.

The score of 71-50 at least was something to brag about, although everyone who was involved in the game from freshman Eron Harris, who led with 19 points while making five of six shots from the field, to senior Deniz Kilicli, who had his first extended and satisfying playing time since Texas, knew it was hardly a thing of beauty.

Kilicli scored 11 points and had eight rebounds while working hard, but there was a negative, too, as he simply could not make a layup, made but 1 of 4 free throws and had three turnovers.

“For a positive, that is as active as Deniz has been in a long time,” coach Bob Huggins said. “I thought he was really active. He hard hedges ball screens well, and he did a lot of positive things aside from missing layups. He did a lot of positive things defensively and rebounded the ball better.”

In truth, Kilicli contributed the play that labeled the game for what it was, which was something of a farce, for he actually stole the ball around mid-court from guard Kyan Anderson and drove the length of the court as the crowd — or what was passing for it at 7,094 fans — roared as he went in for a breakaway dunk.

That played summed up the TCU ineptitude while lighting a fire under the Mountaineers.

“It does a lot for the team,” Kilicli said, “but not really for me.”

It was, Kilicli noted, the second time he had made such a play in his career, the other time coming against Rutgers, but he is so caught up in the season and the disappointment it has been to date that there is very little he can do at the moment to become ecstatic over his play or the team’s situation.

He understands that he had those problems missing layups and turning the ball over but he also understood it.

“I haven’t been playing much,” he said. “I’ve been sitting a long time, and when you do that things like that are going to happen on the offensive end. I’m just trying to find my rhythm.”

One might say that it was obvious from the start that WVU would find a way to win this game, even though Kilicli missed a couple of easy shots out of the gate, shots on which he felt he was fouled.

See, on the other end, TCU was doing its best Washington Generals imitation.  

The first shot the Horned Frogs took was a short jumper from inside the paint that actually missed the rim by five feet and that was a better shot than the second one, which was a close layup that — if you aren’t sitting down, perhaps you should — actually went over the backboard.

That is not exaggeration for effect. In fact, that is not exaggeration at all.

Kilicli admitted that when he saw it he had to laugh.

“I thought, ‘Great. At least Huggs won’t yell at me,’” he said.

That West Virginia played hard in this one was important, that it won even more important.

“We just got mad and hungry,” said Harris, who now has three consecutive double-figure games after going six games in a row without reaching double figures.

By halftime WVU had a 13-point lead, and the Mountaineers stretched it to 21 points in the second half, but then TCU made a run at them, cutting it to 11 at 55-44.

Considering all that has happened with the Mountaineers in the recent past, there was cause for concern but a couple of nifty passes from unexpected sources, Kevin Noreen and Dominique Rutledge, led to layups by Juwan Staten and Kilicli and there was some breathing room again.

WVU’s defense forced 17 turnovers and the Mountaineers did dominate the offensive glass with 19 offensive rebounds to help them to a 42-30 rebounding edge. That gave them a 16-4 advantage in second-chance points.

WVU returns to action at Oklahoma State for a 1 p.m. game Saturday and then return home on Monday for a huge matchup with the Big 12’s premier team, Kansas.

 Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
    This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.

    July 27, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU needs White to follow in former receivers’ footsteps

    A year ago Clint Trickett took a lot of grief as the once potent West Virginia offense came unraveled, but there is more that than meets the eye.
    The criticism was not unfounded, of course, although behind each incomplete pass there was the pain Trickett was suffering through to throw it, his rotator cuff in need of surgery.

    July 26, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: O’Toole joins long list of eccentric WVU kickers, punters

    The star of the Big 12’s annual football media day wasn’t a star at all.
    He intrigued the media far more than Bob Stoops, the coach of preseason favorite Oklahoma, and more than Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, the preseason player of the year.

    July 25, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Saban, family happy at Alabama

    Alabama football coach Nick Saban, whose team opens the season against West Virginia in Atlanta on Aug. 30, denied receiving or turning down this offseason an offer of $100 million to coach Texas, indicating he planned to finish his career as coach of the Crimson Tide.

    July 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Quarterback child prodigy’ comes to WVU amidst very high expectations

    Has West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen finally put the arrow he needs in his quiver with the commitment received Wednesday from high school quarterback David Sills, who is a rather extraordinary story and may also just be a rather extraordinary quarterback?

    July 18, 2014

  • WVU kicker Molinari ‘All-American boy’

    West Virginia kicker Mike Molinari may not be an All-American but he is an All-American boy.
    He was honored for that on Wednesday when the Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association announced the West Virginia redshirt senior kicker/punter Michael Molinari is a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

    July 16, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads