West Virginia opened the game on an 8-0 run in the first two and a half minutes, forcing TCU to conform to the pace the Mountaineers set early on. The Horned Frogs were rattled from the jump by the Mountaineer press, and when the Horned Frogs were able to get the ball inbounds, they often looked rushed and unsettled on offense.
Jaysean Paige, after being named the Big 12 Player of the Week this morning, started this game off on the wrong foot. He committed two fouls in his first minute of action, and was quickly sent back to the bench.
Foul trouble was a theme again for West Virginia early in this one, as the Horned Frogs were in the bonus before the game’s first media timeout. This allowed TCU to slowly chip away at West Virginia’s big start, turning an 8-0 explosion out of the gate by the Mountaineers into a 10-7 game with five minutes gone. Paige, Williams and Elijah Macon had all picked up two fouls in the game’s first five minutes.
This provided another test of Bob Huggins’ “10-deep” Mountaineers, and he wasn’t disappointed at first. Jonathan Holton was extremely active with the traditional post scorers out of the game, causing havoc on defense and providing seven early points to help WVU to a 20-13 lead with 11:40 left in the first half.
Brandon Watkins committed an egregious error, punching TCU’s Karviar Shepherd in the stomach as both were running down the floor. The officials reviewed the incident and assigned Watkins a Flagrant 1 foul, awarding TCU two free throws and the ball. Watkins could have easily been given a Flagrant 2 and kicked out of the game for the stunt.
Shepherd and the Horned Frogs went on an 11-0 run in the next minute of play, and established a rhythm to the game that favored their style much better than the opening few minutes. At the under-8 minute media timeout, TCU had claimed a 30-27 lead over the Mountaineers.
The Mountaineers committed 21 fouls in the game’s first 20 minutes, allowing TCU to shoot 25 free throws, and trailed 47-45 heading into the locker room. Williams, Paige, Holton, and Macon all found themselves in deep foul trouble with three apiece in the first period.
It didn’t take Williams and Holton long to pick up their fourth fouls, as both had accomplished that by the two-minute mark of the second half. Keep in mind, this was the third-straight road game for this team, and the Mountaineers had been on the road since last Tuesday. They certainly played like that through the first 20 minutes and change.
After falling into a 60-53 hole out of the gate in the second half, West Virginia went on an 11-2 run in just over three minutes to take a 64-62 lead with 11:41 to play. Huggins and the Mountaineers would be walking on egg shells from this point on though, as their four post players had reached the four foul plateau.
As you would expect, the foul trouble only got worse, as six Mountaineers found themselves one away from disqualification at the under-8 media timeout. Despite all the whistles, and 20 Mountaineer turnovers, they found themselves with a 72-68 lead with 7:49 to play.
After snagging a tough rebound, Jaysean Paige was fouled by TCU's Chris Washburn. Washburn, seemingly offended by being out-worked on the glass by a guard, brought his arm down across Paige’s face after the whistle and was called for a technical foul. In all, West Virginia was awarded four free throws and the ball, which it converted into six points and an 88-77 lead with 2:30 to play.
West Virginia was then able to seal the deal with a couple of stops and good free throw shooting, and capped off a sweep of its three game road trip with a 95-87 win in Fort Worth.
Jaysean Paige was brilliant after getting into early foul trouble, contributing 20 points off the bench, along with four rebounds and three assists. Tarik Phillip was also instrumental off the bench again, playing tough defense and adding 18 points with three assists and two boards.