Mountaineers Withstand Late Runs By Horned Frogs and Earn 12 Point Victory

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The combination of West Virginia's pressure and the performances of Esa Ahmad and Daxter Miles Jr. were the determining factors in Saturday afternoon's 82-70 win over the Horned Frogs.

Coming off of its second loss of the season No.7 West Virginia (13-2, 2-1 Big 12) bounced back and used a pair of big performances by Daxter Miles Jr. and Esa Ahmad to put away a pesky TCU team and earn an 82-70 victory.

The game was tightly contested in the early going but one thing was abundantly clear in just the first few minutes of the contest, Esa Ahmad was going to leave his mark on the game. The sophomore forward scored six of the Mountaineers first 11 points and was extremely assertive on the offensive end of the court, scoring both close to the basket and hitting 20 foot jump shots. Ahmad came out shortly after the first media timeout and Daxter Miles quickly picked up the pace, hitting a pair of threes and skying high for a put back slam. The duo combined for 17 of West Virginia's first 19 points but despite their hot starts the Mountaineers led only 19-18 halfway through the first half.

It was at that point when the Mountaineers' press finally started to wear on the Horned Frogs and over the next two minutes TCU committed four turnovers, spurring a 7-0 run and giving West Virginia a 26-18 lead after the game had been mostly deadlocked. In all West Virginia forced the Horned Frogs into 11 first half turnovers and built a 39-28 to end the first half

The Horned Frogs weren't going down without a fight, however, and came out with a renewed sense of energy in the second half by cutting the lead to 39-35 and sprinting out to a 7-0 run. The Mountaineers see-sawed the momentum and pushed the lead back out to double digits but TCU had another run in store. The Horned Frogs battled and clawed their way to a 57-57 tie after taking advantage of WVU defensive lapses and beating the Mountaineers' pressure with long inbound passes.

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But after TCU tied the game with an 11-2 run, West Virginia outscored the Horned Frogs 25-13 the rest of the way. Jevon Carter got hot late and hit three three-pointers in the final minutes of the contest and Sagaba Konate brought the crowd to life with a series of big blocks and several tough baskets in the paint. But no matter how close TCU got, West Virginia always had an answer for a determined TCU team. The Mountaineers final answer, a late 9-0 run, secured their second win of conference play and 13th win of the season. After the game Ahmad discussed West Virginia's ability to fight through adversity when the Horned Frogs were going on runs.

"We had to stay together," said Ahmad. "That's the big thing. We're family and we knew we were going to go through adversity. None of these games are going to be easy but we stuck together and pulled it out."

Daxter Miles led all scorers with 22 points, Ahmad scored 16 on seven of 11 shooting, and Carter and Konate each picked up 13 points on the afternoon. Konate's final stat line consisted of 13 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. 

West Virginia will look to pick up their third conference win of the season when they take on Baylor at the coliseum on Tuesday night. There is a strong likelihood that the Bears will enter the match-up as the No.1 team in the country.


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