Taz Sherman said his senior season was a roller-coaster, but he and his fellow seniors made sure to end it on a positive note.
The senior went off for 25 points in his final regular season game at the WVU Coliseum as his Mountaineers (15-16, 4-14 Big 12) held off TCU (19-11, 8-10) 70-64.
“Just being able to have my mom and my little brother in the Coliseum…to have a good showing in front of them, it’s always important to me,” Sherman said. “Being able to put on a good performance, you never know when it’s somebody’s first time watching you play, and you never know when it’s the last time watching you play neither, so just put on a show when you can.”
Sherman was one of WVU’s seven seniors to (possibly) play their last game in Morgantown, the group of which combined to score 47 of WVU’s 70 points. Another, Sean McNeil, helped WVU keep the Horned Frogs out of the winner’s circle, adding eight of his 10 points after halftime.
Those were important points for West Virginia, as it gave up a six-point halftime lead. With six minutes to go, TCU had built its own six-point lead for the Mountaineers to overcome.
That’s when WVU snatched momentum right back — Sherman and McNeil led the Mountaineer offense on a 17-5 run to end the contest, aided by a strong performance by the team on defense.
“We had to do a great job of staying in front of them, I thought our guys did,” said WVU coach Bob Huggins. “[Forward] Pauly [Paulicap] just gets better with every game. [Forward] Gabe [Osabuohien was good. We had some guys step up and respond.”
WVU forced 18 turnovers throughout the game, earning 14 points from those takeaways.
After taking a beating on the glass in Fort Worth, WVU came back in the second leg and beat TCU — the best rebounding team in the Big 12 — on the glass with a plus-4 margin. WVU fifth-year forward Gabe Osabuohien was the leader with 10.
That was Osabuohien’s fourth double-digit rebounding performance, while making his first start of the season.
Fellow fifth-year Malik Curry added 10 points, three assists and a rebound. Keddy Johnson chipped in five points and two rebounds, while Paulicap scored four and grabbed three boards to round out the seniors in the box score.
Of those seniors, McNeil and Johnson are both eligible to return for another season. While they both walked as part of WVU’s Senior Day festivities, their future status has not yet been decided.
“We’ll see how this summer goes,” McNeil said. “I honestly couldn’t tell you.”
Jalen Bridges was the fourth Mountaineer in double figures, adding 10 points and five rebounds.
“He kept balls alive, rebounding at the defensive end,” Huggins said. “Just a terrific job today, and he does it gladly….He is a basketball player, and what I appreciate more than anything is that this guy just wants to play and wants to win.”
Mike Miles Jr. led TCU with 17 points, while Damion Baugh and Micah Peavy each added 12. Baugh also led the Horned Frogs with seven rebounds and six assists.
The loss puts TCU’s spot in the Big 12 standings in jeopardy. They currently sit as the 5-seed in the conference tournament, a half-game above Iowa State. If the Cyclones defeat Baylor in Waco on Saturday, TCU would slip to the 6-seed.
West Virginia, however, already solidified itself as the No. 9 team in the league. The Mountaineers await the loser of Saturday’s game between Oklahoma and Kansas State to see who they face on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET in the Big 12 Tournament.