TCU traveled to take on SMU last week, and the good guys struggled from the opening tip. The old cliché is to throw out the records in a rivalry game. The Frogs responded by throwing away the ball, repeatedly. Both teams did. The faux-religious foes combined for 21 turnovers. Was this a game of basketball or hot potato? Rebounding haunted TCU during the first half, while the Ponies pounced on their defensive and offensive boards to drain second-chance buckets. The Froggies trailed by six after the first half. Junior guard Jaylen Fisher is looking healthy and recovered from surgery. He carries the offense. On a side note, TCU athletics should recruit more Jaylens in general. It’s working out well for basketball and football. Fisher went to work behind the arch and drained triple after triple to erase the first-half deficit and elevate God’s favorite team to a 67-59 win.
Fisher and senior forward JD Miller scored 15 points each. Miller pulverized the paint and consistently knocked down his free throws, while Fisher rang up all his stats from three-point land. Senior point guard Alex Robinson is the best teammate and court general in the country, averaging nine assists per game. Coach Jamie Dixon’s entire squad averages more than 22 assists per game, also best in the country.
Terrorizing the Trojans
The Trojans from USC should have used some protection before facing off against the Frogs at Staples Center last weekend. Dixon, who grew up in North Hollywood, will probably not get the key to the city anytime soon. TCU proverbially punched the Trojans in the face from the opening possession. USC never led in this “contest.” Six Frogs scored double digits. Fisher and Robinson scored 15 each. Fisher swished five buckets from long range in this game. His last 30 points have all been three pointers. Forwards Miller and Kuat Noi joined the scoring extravaganza with 14 points apiece as well. The Purple Predators led by 20 at half and had trounced the Trojans 96-61 when the buzzer stopped the madness.
The Horned Frogs doubled up their opponent in assists (22 to 11) and steals (10 to 5). USC blocked only one shot compared to TCU’s four. Dixon’s boys also shot 40 percent from long range with the help of Fisher. Offensive rebounds were equal between the teams, but Purple dominated the defensive glass. USC is a useful measuring stick for TCU. Texas Tech beat USC by 15 and will visit the Sooners on Saturday.
End of Pre-Conference
The Frogs have three pre-conference tips before they host Baylor for games that matter in the upcoming year. TCU hosts the Indiana State Sycamores of the Missouri Valley Conference on Sunday afternoon. I’ve never heard of them either, but ISU is 8-2 after losing their opener at Ball State and again last week when 10-1 UNT visited the blustery north. The Frogs need to remain stout defensively. The Sycamores average almost 74 points per game and rebound statistically the same as TCU. Dixon’s focus should include denying the paint and forcing the opponent to share the ball to find shooting lanes, which the Sycamores aren’t particularly good at. If the Frog guards can ride the recent offensive explosion, led by Fisher, they should have no problem improving to 8-1.