Johnson: West Virginia “physically and mentally tougher” than TCU


Every time TCU mounted a comeback in the second half, West Virginia found an answer.

The Frogs took a 32-31 lead a minute into the second half, but the Mountaineers went on an 11-2 run to take a 42-34 lead with 14:24 left.  

A free throw by senior forward Adrick McKinney cut the lead to 44-40, but an Eron Harris dunk on the next possession stopped any momentum the Frogs had gained.

TCU never trailed by more than 13 points in the second half, but couldn’t close the gap to less than four as West Virginia went on to a 63-50 win.

“It’s pretty simple,” head coach Trent Johnson said. “They’re physically and mentally a lot tougher than we are.”

Sophomore guard Kyan Anderson led TCU (10-13 overall, 1-9 Big 12) with 16 points while senior forward Connell Crossland had a double-digit outing with 13 points and a game-high nine rebounds.

Senior forward Garlon Green, who led the Frogs against Kansas, was a non-factor as he picked up two early fouls and only played three minutes in the first half. He finished with three points in 23 minutes.

Johnson said Green played tentative and wasn’t aggressive in his attack.

The Frogs shot 60 percent from the field in the first half, but finished 17-of-47 for the game (36.2 percent). They also went 4-of-19 from behind the 3-point line.   

“That’s basically saying hey, our guys don’t want to attack the rim,” Johnson said. “They don’t want to make the extra mental toughness, physical play to feed the post. That’s very disturbing.”

West Virginia (12-11, 5-5) had three players in double figures, led by freshman guard Terry Henderson with 17. Henderson had three 3-pointers at the end in the first half, including one at the buzzer to give the Mountaineers a 31-28 halftime lead.

“We didn’t guard very well,” West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins said about his team’s first half performance. “We didn’t play with a lot of energy. I thought in the second half we did a much better job offensively.”

The Mountaineers hit 51.2 percent from the field in the game (22-of-43), including 7-of-10 from behind the arc.

With the win, the Mountaineers have extended their winning streak to three games and remain in seventh place in the Big 12 behind Baylor and Oklahoma who are 6-4 in conference.

TCU outrebounded West Virginia 34-23, but Johnson still wants the Frogs be more aggressive.

“I’m beside myself right now because I’m all about what West Virginia’s about: being physical and tough,” Johnson said. “Right now, I just can’t wait till we get there.”