Men's Basketball, WVU Sports

NOTEBOOK: West Virginia’s defense comes up big in winning rematch against TCU

MORGANTOWN — Playing its final home game of the season, West Virginia may have come up with one of its top defensive efforts of the season in knocking off TCU on Saturday, 70-64.

The Horned Frogs were nearly held scoreless for the final four minutes of the game and shot just 37% (10 of 27) from the floor in the second half.

“I think we should have had some opportunities to get to the basket better,” TCU head coach Jamie Dixon said. “Some of the passes were unexplainable. The turnovers were devastating.”


WVU forced 18 turnovers and came away with a 33-29 rebounding advantage against the top rebounding team in the Big 12.

That’s a big difference from when the two teams met in Ft. Worth on Feb. 21. In that game, TCU came away with a 42-24 advantage on the glass.

“We were horrible in Ft. Worth,” WVU head coach Bob Huggins said. “We were in that period where we were close to winning big games, and then we didn’t win them at the end for seeming every reason there is.”

As for locking down TCU’s shooters. Huggins said it was simply a matter of WVU players showing some heart and staying in front of them.

“The simple solution is you stay in front of your man,” Huggins said. “We were constantly on the side, so they ride you where they want to ride you. I think with a lot of film watching and trying to explain it, we have gotten better. At least we were better tonight and hopefully that continues.”

McNeil undecided

Sean McNeil was one of WVU’s seven seniors who were honored before the game, but the guard does have the option to return as a fifth-year senior next year.

McNeil was asked if this was his final game at WVU, but said he was going to wait to make that decision.

“I don’t know, we’ll see how this summer goes,” he said. “I honestly couldn’t tell you. We’ll see how the summer goes.”

In his three years, McNeil has scored 886 points and has played in 88 games.

He has the option of returning next season, as does senior guard Kedrian Johnson, due to the NCAA’s giving an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19.

Taz Sherman and Gabe Osabuohien both returned this season for their extra year of eligibility.

News and notes

** Mary Rousch was named the next Mountaineer mascot for the 2022-23 school year.

She becomes the third female in school history to be named the Mountaineer.

** With the win, WVU tied for its worst-ever record in Big 12 play at 4-14. It’s the second time the Mountaineers, who joined the Big 12 in 2012, have finished in last place in the league standings.

** TCU fell to 0-10 all-time inside the Coliseum. They are the only Big 12 team yet to win a conference game in Morgantown.

** Dixon fell to 15-16 all-time against the Mountaineers. As the former head coach at Pitt, Dixon was 11-8 against WVU and is now 4-8 as TCU’s head coach.

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