MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Teddy Allen emerged from a scoring slump and gave No. 20 West Virginia hope that it still has some fight left in the Big 12 race.
The 6-foot-5 freshman came off the bench to score 16 points and lead the Mountaineers to an 82-66 victory over TCU on Monday night.
“Every game is different and there are certain matchups where guys get hot,” said Allen, who made 8 of 13 field goals and grabbed six rebounds. “We have a deep team and my number was called today, so I just tried to step up for my teammates.”
Allen had a strong start to the Big 12 season, and then was benched for two games in mid-January for what coach Bob Huggins termed an attitude problem. Monday night marked just the second time he scored in double digits in seven games since his return. He had gone scoreless over the past two games.
Huggins said the difference in Allen’s play on Monday night was simply that “he played hard,” including going after loose balls.
“He didn’t necessarily grab a lot of rebounds, but he kept a lot of balls alive that other people were able to get,” Huggins said. “And that’s what it’s about. It’s about team.”
Still, Huggins is still looking for more consistency out of Allen. And the player said he has grown to appreciate nitpicking from his demanding coach.
“I kind of like when Huggs yells at me,” Allen said. “It might sound weird, but if he yells at you, he sees something in you. Huggs always stays on me on and off the court, just trying to help me grow.”
Allen gave the Mountaineers (19-7, 8-5 Big 12) a needed boost off the bench.
With less-than-stellar games from leading scorer Jevon Carter and shot-blocking specialist Sagaba Konate, West Virginia overcame a sluggish start with sparks from Allen and fellow reserves James “Beetle” Bolden and Maciej Bender to move ahead for good late in the first half. West Virginia’s 38 bench points were its most in a Big 12 game this season.
“I think the bench came in with great energy and I think that showed up tonight,” Allen said.
The 6-foot-10 Bender had six rebounds and three steals in 16 minutes in place of Konate, who played just three first-half minutes after a defensive lapse landed him a seat far down the bench.
West Virginia has had trouble holding onto leads throughout the Big 12 season but didn’t let the Horned Frogs come back from a 38-27 halftime deficit.
TCU (17-9, 5-8) twice closed within five in the second half, but went without a field goal over a crucial four-minute stretch. West Virginia capitalized with a rare strong finish.
“They have a lot of bodies, so I would say that they probably wore us down,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. “They beat us in pretty much every category.”
Bolden finished with 14 points, Daxter Miles Jr. scored 13 and Wes Harris added 11 points for West Virginia.
Desmond Bane had 16 points, Vlad Brodziansky added 15 and Kouat Noi scored 12 for TCU.
TCU: The Horned Frogs couldn’t mirror the offensive performance from their 82-73 win over West Virginia on Jan. 22. TCU is fighting for its first NCAA Tournament bid in 20 years. It’s also been that long since the Horned Frogs have beaten a ranked team on the road.
West Virginia: The third-place Mountaineers posted their third win in four games, but time is running out in their quest for a first-ever Big 12 regular-season title. The good news is there are still head-to-head matchups ahead with Kansas and first-place Texas Tech, the two teams they need to beat to get there.
TCU goes for a regular-season sweep of Oklahoma State at home on Saturday.
West Virginia plays at No. 13 Kansas on Saturday. The Mountaineers have never won at Allen Fieldhouse, blowing a 14-point lead with 3 minutes left in regulation and losing in overtime 84-80 last season.
(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)