The Times West Virginian

Sports

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
Sports
  • Pirates’ slide continues in 2-1 loss to Cincinnati

    The Pittsburgh Pirates are five games under .500 less than a month into the season but they insist there is no reason to panic.
    Ryan Ludwick lined a two-run double after two Cincinnati batters were hit by pitches, lifting Tony Cingrani and the Reds over the Pirates 2-1 on Thursday.

    April 25, 2014

  • Morgan Hoke -ts.jpg Polar Bear tennis sweeps East: PHOTOS

    Last week East Fairmont’s girls’ tennis team beat Fairmont Senior, 4-3.
    Wednesday at Fairmont State University, the Polar Bears returned the favor with a 5-2 win over their cross-town rival.
    Alissa Link won No. 1 singles, 8-4. Morgan Hoke won No. 3 singles, 9-7. And Avery Towns won No. 4 singles, 8-5, for the Polar Bears.

    April 24, 2014 8 Photos

  • Falcons set for spring game

    Football is back … well, kind of.
    Today at 7 p.m., Fairmont State will hold its annual Maroon & White spring game at Duvall-Rosier Field. The scoreboard won’t mean a whole lot since it’s little more than a glorified scrimmage. Instead, here are five things to watch during today’s game.

    April 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: NCAA football is thriving in the digital age

    The other day Baylor football coach Art Briles walked into his graduate assistants’ office and had to laugh at what he saw.
    “There’s five guys sitting in there — a couple of GA’s and some office personnel — and they all are within a foot and a half of each other and not a one of them is talking to each other,” Briles said, describing the scene “Every one of them is on the phone.”

    April 24, 2014

  • Hillberry commits to Wesleyan

    Last year Emma Harrison and Kaitlyn Conaway teamed up with Alexis Hillberry to win several relay medals at the state track meet.
    Though the two West Virginia Wesleyan runners are now in college, they helped to pass the baton to Hillberry Wednesday when she signed her National Letter of Intent to join her former teammates on the Bobcats’ track team.

    April 24, 2014

  • O’Brien leads WVU baseball past Marshall

    Catcher Cam O’Brien made a bid at becoming only the second West Virginia University player to hit for the cycle as the Mountaineers jumped on Marshall early and routed their in-state rival, 10-3, behind strong pitching from Corey Walter and a pair of relievers.

    April 24, 2014

  • North, East softball earn blowout wins

    The North Marion softball team was at it again Wednesday night.
    Mattie Polling tripled and singled, starting pitcher Chelsi Latocha doubled and gave up just one hit as the Huskies rolled to another 3-inning mercy-rule victory over Lewis County, 18-1.

    April 24, 2014

  • Simon, Bruce lead Reds past Bucs, 5-2

    Alfredo Simon pitched into the seventh inning despite erratic control, Jay Bruce drove in a run for a fifth consecutive game and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 Wednesday night.
    Simon (3-1) worked 6 2-3 innings and allowed two runs on four hits and five walks while striking out four.

    April 24, 2014

  • Pens squander lead, fall to Columbus

    Brandon Dubinsky scored with 22.5 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and Nick Foligno’s wrist shot just inside the blue line 2:49 into the extra session gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.

    April 24, 2014

  • FSHS #32, 29-BU #15-TS.jpg Cousins Sansalone, Craig lead Polar Bears past B-U: PHOTOS

    They say you don’t mess with family. Buckhannon-Upshur found that one out the hard way.

    April 23, 2014 7 Photos

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos