Huggins reaches another coaching milestone, WVU beats Penn

west virginia basketball
Ben Queen/USA TODAY Sports
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MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — Erik Stevenson scored 17 of his 21 points in the first half and West Virginia used a fast start to beat Penn 92-58 Friday night, giving coach Bob Huggins another milestone win.

Huggins, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in September, earned his 920th career victory, tying Jim Calhoun for third place all-time among Division I coaches behind only Jim Boeheim of Syracuse (999) and recently retired Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski (1,202).

Tre Mitchell, Kedrian Johnson and Joe Toussaint each added 11 points for the Mountaineers (4-0).

Clark Slajchert led Ivy League preseason favorite Penn (1-4) with 20 points.

Mitchell scored nine points in the opening nine minutes, Stevenson had seven and the Mountaineers raced to a 28-9 lead. West Virginia used 13 players in the first half alone.

The lead grew to 52-31 at halftime.

West Virginia shot 64% (18 of 28) before halftime and 55.6% (30 of 54) for the game. Stevenson made his first eight field goals attempts and sat out most of the second half.

The teams had not met since 1981. Huggins faced an Ivy League school for the first time.

BIG PICTURE

Penn: The Quakers were playing their fifth game in 12 days, including four on the road. Penn’s leading scorer, Jordan Dingle, sat out the game with a leg injury sustained in a win at Drexel on Tuesday.

West Virginia: The Mountaineers made four 3-pointers in their previous game against Morehead State. West Virginia made five in the first eight minutes against the Quakers and finished 12 of 23 (52%). But Huggins did not look pleased at times by his team’s defense. West Virginia was outrebounded 38-29.

UP NEXT:

Penn plays at Lafayette on Tuesday.

West Virginia faces Purdue in Portland, Oregon, on Thanksgiving night.

Jose Perez transfers from Manhattan to West Virginia for spring

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Guard Jose Perez has enrolled at West Virginia for the spring semester after leaving Manhattan following the firing of coach Steve Masiello.

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins announced Perez’s enrollment, saying the player’s eligibility status for games and practices will be determined at a later date.

Perez is a 6-foot-5 fifth-year senior and was chosen as the preseason Player of the Year in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. He averaged 18.9 points, 4.5 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game a year ago.

West Virginia is his fourth school. Perez spent two seasons at Gardner-Webb and one each at Marquette and Manhattan.

West Virginia lost its top four scorers from a year ago when it finished 16-17.

“Jose certainly gives us more fire power for our team,” Huggins said in a statement. “He’s a guy who can score the ball at different levels, he shoots the ball well, he drives it well and he scores it close. He’s another experienced guy who has played a lot of basketball. We think he will be a great fit.”

Masiello coached for 11 seasons at the New York school and was fired Oct. 25.

West Virginia (3-0) hosts Penn (1-3) on Friday night.

No. 6 KU cruises past West Virginia 87-63 in Big 12 quarters

Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ochai Agbaji led sixth-ranked Kansas with 18 points, West Virginia coach Bob Huggins picked up two technical fouls and was ejected 10 minutes into the game, and the Jayhawks cruised past the Mountaineers 87-63 on Thursday in the Big 12 Tournament.

The top-seeded Jayhawks (26-6), who also beat the Mountaineers twice in the regular season, will play fifth-seeded TCU on Friday night for a spot in the title game. The Horned Frogs rallied from 20 down to beat No. 22 Texas earlier in the day.

Christian Braun added 11 points and 15 rebounds for Kansas, which jumped out to a 41-19 lead by halftime and was never seriously threatened down the stretch. Jalen Wilson had 15 points and Mitch Lightfoot finished with 10.

Malik Curry led West Virginia ( 16-17) with 19 points. Taz Sherman had 10 points but was just 3 of 14 from the field.

Most of the excitement in the Big 12 Tournament’s second quarterfinal came in the first 10 minutes.

The Jayhawks roared to a 19-4 lead thanks to Agbaji and Lightfoot, whose alley-oop bucket sent a T-Mobile Center full of red- and blue-clad fans into a frenzy.

At the other end, Sherman missed a bucket – the 16th miss in the Mountaineers’ first 17 shots – and complained to referee Doug Sirmons about the no-call. Sirmons immediately gave him a technical foul, and when Huggins roared off the bench in defense of his player, the Mountaineers’ Hall of Fame finalist got two technicals of his own.

Huggins’ longtime associate head coach, Larry Harrison, took over when he headed to the locker room.

Wilson took the free throws for the Jayhawks, making five of the six from the three technical fouls, and that gave the Big 12 regular-season co-champs a 24-4 lead.

The lead swelled to 41-19 as the Mountaineers went 5 for 31 from the field in the first half.

And unlike the opening quarterfinal Thursday, when the Horned Frogs dug out from an 18-point halftime hole to beat the fifth-seeded Longhorns, the Jayhawks provided an answer every time West Virginia tried to mount a run.

BIG PICTURE

West Virginia again got a big performance from Curry, who came off the bench to score 17 in a first-round win over Kansas State. But the rest of the Mountaineers’ backcourt continued to struggle, a problem compounded by their lack of a reliable presence in the post. They were outrebounded 48-27 and outscored 48-22 in the paint.

Kansas shot better than 50% from the field in each half, often getting to the bucket for easy baskets down low. But it figures to have a much tougher time against Eddie Lampkin and the Horned Frogs.

UP NEXT

The Jayhawks meet the Horned Frogs, who have never played for a Big 12 title, in Friday night’s semifinals.

Allen scores 26, No. 20 Texas beats West Virginia 82-81

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – This time around, Texas senior Timmy Allen played more like himself against West Virginia.

Allen scored 15 of his season-high 26 points over the final 10 minutes, and the 20th-ranked Longhorns beat the Mountaineers 82-81 on Saturday.

Allen also grabbed 10 rebounds. He went 7 for 9 from the field and 12 for 16 at the line.

The forward was limited to eight points in a 74-59 win over the Mountaineers on Jan. 1.

“We were watching film from our first game against them and it didn’t even look like me,” Allen said. “I looked passive and I looked not as strong, so I just wanted to come out and be aggressive.”

Allen’s brother, Teddy, was a popular backup player at West Virginia in 2017-18 before transferring after his freshman season. Timmy Allen said he doesn’t know if that was a factor in how he performed Saturday, other than it helped him focus. He was eager after the game to call his sibling, who now plays at New Mexico State.

“I’ve been thinking about it all day,” Timmy Allen said. “I mean, that’s my brother. That’s my best friend.”

Marcus Carr had 15 points for the Longhorns (21-8, 10-6 Big 12), and Jase Febres scored a season-high 14.

Texas trailed by 10 midway through the second half, but it rallied in time to earn its second straight win and improve to 4-6 on the road.

“That’s as happy as our locker room has been all year,” Texas coach Chris Beard said.

Malik Curry scored a season-high 27 points for last-place West Virginia (14-15, 3-13). Taz Sherman added 13 points and Gabe Osabuohien had 12.

After starting the season 12-1, the Mountaineers have lost six straight and 13 of their last 14 games.

West Virginia was in position to post a big win. But Texas went ahead to stay on a 3-pointer by Febres with 4:38 remaining.

“We’re up 10, and we do the dumbest things,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. “We’ve got guys trying to make plays that have no business trying to make plays. You can’t keep making the same mistakes. We forced things that just weren’t there.”

Carr flipped in an off-balance shot in the lane for an 80-76 lead with 1:47 left. Curry made a layup, was fouled and sank a free throw with 11 seconds left to close the gap to 82-81.

Texas lost the ensuing inbounds pass when the ball went out of bounds off Andrew Jones with 9 seconds remaining.

After a timeout, Sherman inbounded the ball to Curry, who missed a jumper from the top of the key.

“I don’t know how you’re going to get a better shot,” Huggins said.

Allen was fouled getting the rebound with 1 second left. He missed both free throws but West Virginia couldn’t get a shot off in time.

Texas shot 63% (26 of 41) from the floor and outrebounded the Mountaineers 28-17.

But the Longhorns were held to one field goal and committed five turnovers over the first six minutes of the second half, allowing West Virginia to gain momentum before Allen took over down the stretch.

CUNNINGHAM EJECTED

Texas backup forward Brock Cunningham was ejected midway through the first half after a hard foul on Curry during a breakaway layup. It did nothing to throw off the Longhorns, who made 13 of their first 17 shots and cruised into halftime leading 43-37.

BIG PICTURE

Texas: Despite committing 16 turnovers, the Longhorns won for the seventh time in the past nine meetings with West Virginia.

West Virginia: Huggins has seen stretches like this before. In the 2018-19 season, West Virginia lost 15 of 19 games to finish the regular season yet advanced to the league title game, where it lost to Kansas.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Texas could move up a spot in the AP Top 25 poll after a 2-0 week.

UP NEXT

Texas: Hosts No. 10 Baylor on Monday, then finishes the regular season at No. 5 Kansas next Saturday. The Longhorns lost to Baylor and beat the Jayhawks in earlier meetings.

West Virginia: Travels to Oklahoma on Tuesday before finishing at home against TCU on Saturday.

Miller leads balanced TCU past West Virginia 77-67

Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports
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FORT WORTH, Texas- Emmanuel Miller had 18 points and all five starters scored in double figures as TCU defeated West Virginia 77-67 on Monday night.

Mike Miles had 15 points, Chuck O’Bannon 11, and Damion Baugh and Xavier Clark 10 each for TCU. Baugh also had seven assists and seven rebounds. Miller had eight rebounds.

Taz Sherman led West Virginia with 23 points. Kedrian Johnson added 12.

A 14-6 run to open the second half gave TCU a nine-point lead and the Horned Frogs were not seriously threatened the rest of the way. The lead was 10 points after Cork dunked for a 66-56 lead near the 5-minute mark. TCU’s largest lead was 13.

Sherman scored 17 points in an explosive first half in which West Virginia shot 55% and TCU made 57%. The Horned Frogs led 43-42 at the break. TCU stayed hot in the second half, shooting 50% for 53.7% overall. West Virginia cooled off after halftime and shot 35% to finish at 46% for the game.

TCU’s win was just the fourth all-time against West Virginia, which leads the series 16-4. All four of TCU’s victories have come in Fort Worth.

The game was a makeup for the contest that was originally scheduled to be played on Jan. 3 but was postponed because of COVID-19 issues within the TCU program.

Cryer, Mayer lead No. 5 Baylor past West Virginia 77-68

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Despite its recent struggles at home, Baylor still knows a thing or two about winning on the road, even when short-handed.

LJ Cryer and Matthew Mayer each went on a 3-point tear to set a career high for scoring, and No. 5 Baylor snapped a two-game losing streak with a 77-68 victory over West Virginia on Tuesday night.

Baylor (16-2, 4-2 Big 12) bounced back after losing twice at home and relinquishing the No. 1 ranking. The defending national champion has won 13 straight away from home, including four consecutive true road games.

“This league is one of those leagues you don’t want to be on a losing streak, because nobody feels sorry for you,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “You can pick any sport. You lose, you make errors, you lose a little confidence. And you want to get back to winning as quick as you can.

“You miss 3- or 4-foot putts, you better make the next one. Otherwise, them others get tough. And I’m not even a golfer.”

Cryer, a sophomore, scored 25 points in his second start of the season in place of Bears leading scorer James Akinjo, who sat out with a bruised tailbone sustained in Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma State. Freshman forward Jeremy Sochan missed his third straight game with a sprained ankle.

Mayer had 20 points and four steals. Adam Flagler scored 14 and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua scored 10 for the Bears.

“It just gives us confidence that we can get back on track and win the Big 12,” Mayer said.

Cryer and Mayer combined to hit 10 of 17 3-pointers. Baylor has won three straight in Morgantown.

Mayer “knew he had to be aggressive, knew he had to be assertive on the scoring front to make up for Jeremy and James being gone,” Drew said. “Sometimes people try to press or try to do more, and they do the wrong thing which leads to bad results. He just tried to be really efficient and effective, and he did that.”

Malik Curry scored 19 points for West Virginia (13-4, 2-3), which has lost two straight and saw its streak of 10 straight wins at home to start the season snapped. Taz Sherman added 18 points and Sean McNeil scored 17.

Mayer made three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt to put Baylor ahead to stay, 56-54, with 7:35 remaining.

West Virginia was held to four field goals over the final six minutes. Mayer hit a 3-pointer, Flagler made two 3s and Baylor pushed its lead to 71-61 with 3:31 left.

Cryer and Mayer combined for 18 points over the final 12 minutes.

Cryer is “a good player, so good players are going to make good plays and his team definitely needed it because their star point guard was out,” Curry said. “He just stepped up and did what he was supposed to do.”

West Virginia couldn’t defend the post or get back in transition defense to start the game, and the Bears took advantage. At one point, Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins inserted little-used Seny N’diaye to try to help, but it only got worse. Flo Thamba, Tchamwa Tchatchoua and Flagler combined for four dunks in less than a five-minute span.

West Virginia couldn’t guard Mayer, either. Mayer, who had a season-high 18 points in Morgantown last season as the Bears clinched the Big 12 regular-season title, made three early 3-pointers and Baylor turned an early deficit into a 30-14 lead.

“This is like my favorite place to play,” said Mayer, a senior. “I’ve always had some good games here.”

The Mountaineers finally tightened up their defense and went on a 14-0 run, with seven points coming from McNeil, to pull within 30-28 late in the half and set up a tight contest until the final few minutes.

BIG PICTURE

Baylor: The Bears put together a solid offensive effort despite missing Akinjo, an Arizona transfer who leads the team with 13.9 points per game.

West Virginia: The Mountaineers missed several inside baskets after working the ball into the post during a key stretch of the second half. They were held to 39.3% from the floor (24 of 61).

“What sticks out to me is all the times we had shots from a foot away and we didn’t make them in the second half,” Huggins said. “I mean, that’s crazy. That’s been a habitual problem.”

BETTER AT THE LINE

After shooting 61% from the free-throw line in its first 11 games, West Virginia has turned its weakness into a strength, going of 101 of 128 (79%) since.

UP NEXT

Baylor plays at Oklahoma on Saturday. The Bears beat the Sooners 84-74 earlier this month in Waco, Texas.

West Virginia faces its third straight ranked opponent, playing at No. 18 Texas Tech on Saturday.