FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Damion Baugh had 16 points and 10 assists, big man Eddie Lampkin Jr. made an unexpected return from injury and 15th-ranked TCU overcame the absence of top scorer Mike Miles Jr. to beat West Virginia 76-72 on Tuesday night.
“We’re fighters, no matter what,” Baugh said.
JaKobe Coles added 17 points, Shahada Wells had 16 and Xavier Cork 15 for the Horned Frogs (17-5, 6-3 Big 12), who wrapped up the first half of their conference schedule in a four-way tie with No. 7 Kansas State, No. 8 Kansas and No. 13 Iowa State for second place. They are all one game behind league-leading No. 10 Texas.
“Everybody is (good) in this league, and obviously we responded with a win shorthanded,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. “But we got it done and this is what we’ve got to do here coming forward.”
Erik Stevenson had 17 points and Tre Mitchell 15 for West Virginia (13-9, 2-7). Joe Toussaint had 12 points and Emmitt Matthews Jr. had 10.
Wells was in TCU’s starting lineup with Miles out because of a hyperextended right knee. The Big 12’s second-leading scorer (18.1 points per game) got hurt less than four minutes into the Frogs’ loss Saturday at Mississippi State.
Lampkin, their leading rebounder, had missed the last two games because of a left high ankle sprain and wasn’t expected to play against West Virginia. But the 6-foot-11 center, entered after the first media timeout, and in just over a minute had a layup and then a bounce-pass assist to Baugh for another TCU basket.
The Horned Frogs missed their next eight shots, and West Virginia was within 16-15 when Stevenson hit a floater midway through the first half. But the Mountaineers never regained the lead, trailed by four at the break and never got closer than that in the second half.
“We didn’t come to play. They were much more enthusiastic,” said Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins, whose team beat TCU 74-65 at home only 13 days earlier. “They were a step ahead of us. They had more bounce than we had.”
SOME POINTED WORDS
West Virginia forward Jimmy Bell Jr. became visibly upset after the game ended, and was held back by some teammates and staff during a verbal exchange with some TCU students and fans. Huggins said on his postgame radio show that his understanding was that Bell was upset about someone pointing at his mother while saying things.
West Virginia: Stevenson, the fifth-year senior transfer from South Carolina, was coming off a 31-point game against Auburn that earned him Big 12 newcomer of the week honors. But the guard got off to a slow start against TCU, going 1-of-5 with only two points before halftime. He had WVU’s first three baskets after halftime before the Frogs scored the next seven points for an 11-point lead.
TCU: Even though Lampkin played only eight minutes and was clearly still hobbled, his high-energy play provided a big boost for the Horned Frogs. He first entered during the middle of a spurt that put them ahead to stay. TCU, which last year got its first NCAA Tournament win in 35 years, needs Lampkin and Miles healthy down the stretch. An MRI on Miles showed no ligament damage, though the timetable for his return is still uncertain.
IN THE PAINT
TCU had 20 fast break points to match its national-best average, but also had 48 points in the paint.
“Totally absurd for the guys that we have,” Huggins said about giving up so many paint points.
TCU’s inside scores included two highlight dunks by Cork, who was 6-of-6 shooting. The Horned Frogs shot 51.7% (30 of 58) from the field, and had only seven turnovers.
West Virginia is home Saturday night against Oklahoma, which beat the Mountaineers 77-76 on Jan. 14.
TCU plays Saturday at Oklahoma State.
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