WVU was once again without guard Terry Henderson, who was out due to illness for the third-consecutive game. Sophomore guard Eron Harris and junior point guard Juwan Staten picked up the slack, combining to score 35 points.
"We needed that game. If we didn't get that one, our hopes were probably over," Harris said. "This one feels pretty good."
While those two led the team, West Virginia needed a spark from an unheralded player on its roster. Walk-on guard Chase Connor came on in the first half to score nine points – all on threes – to give the Mountaineers the lead.
Freshman forward Devin Williams finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds – his fifth double-double of the season. It was the first time since Jan. 11 that Williams has scored in double-figures.
"Devin Williams played well in the second half," said WVU head coach Bob Huggins. "He rebounded the ball and played like a man. That makes all the difference."
Fellow freshman forward Nathan Adrian finished with 14 points – two short of his career-high total.
The victory guarantees the Mountaineers (16-13, 8-8) will finish with a winning record in the regular season. It also kept WVU's slim NCAA tournament hopes alive; its two remaining regular season games at Oklahoma and vs. Kansas are chances to earn quality wins, as well. TCU (9-9, 0-16) has yet to win a Big 12 game this season.
WVU stays in sixth place in the Big 12 following the victory over the Horned Frogs. If it finishes in that position, it will receive a first-round bye in the Big 12 tournament in two weeks.
"We're not looking ahead to Kansas right now. We're looking forward to playing Oklahoma ... they're going to payback on their mind after what happened here," Staten said. "We're just going to attack practice, and get prepared."
TCU shot 50 percent in the first half, but the Horned Frogs were held to just 29.6 percent from the field in the second half. TCU hit just eight shots in the final 20 minutes of the game.
"I was hoping we would guard better. We'll guard for a while, but then we stop," Huggins said. "We played some match up in the second half."
West Virginia struggled early and couldn't find its offensive rhythm until a surprising substitution gave the Mountaineers life. Connor came into the game and quickly hit his first three 3-point attempts – the first made shots of his career – to give West Virginia its first lead at 16-15.
"Chase was big for us. We know he can make shots for us," Staten said. "He just really hasn't had his chance until tonight when Terry was out and we needed him. His name was called, and he made the most of it."
Threes from Adrian and Harris extended the Mountaineers' lead to 26-19. WVU would have a nine-point lead with 6:29 to play in the first half. That would go away, however, as a 10-0 TCU run would put the Horned Frogs up 33-32 less than four minutes later.
West Virginia would take a 39-36 lead into the locker room.
WVU was just 11-of-33 from the field in the first half and made more threes (six) than it did two-point shots (five). West Virginia managed foul trouble well in the first half, as four starters ended the half with two fouls but nobody picked up their third foul.
It took a while for West Virginia to pull away in the second half, but it happened midway through. Up 44-40, the Mountaineers would go on a 17-2 run to take a commanding 61-42 lead with about 10 minutes to play.
WVU would go up by 21 on an offensive rebound and layup by Adrian.
TCU just didn't have the firepower to combat the quick run by the Mountaineers en route to the big margin of defeat.
WVU's substitutions even had success in the final two minutes of the game.
The Horned Frogs were led by center Karviar Shepherd, who finished with 14 points. Forward Jarvis Ray finished with a double-double.