Jamie Dixon opened a new era of TCU Basketball Friday night with an impressive victory, as the Frogs exploded out of halftime to secure a 82-64 win in the first game of the 2016-2017 season.
Dixon, who made it clear from the opening tip that the best players will be the ones on the floor, started a pair of true freshmen and was rewarded with an impressive performance all-around. Jaylen Fisher was especially fun to watch, as he led a far more wide-open offense than what was orchestrated by the previous regime. The first year player out of Tennessee led all TCU players in assists with seven, steals with four, and shot attempts with 14 on his way to a 13 point night, looking the part of the big-time player he was expected to be from start to finish. In all, six different players scored in double figures for the Frogs, as they spread the wealth around the roster and saw 12 players see the floor.
We also got our first glimpse of the Parrish brothers on the floor together, as senior Brandon and true freshmen Josh came off the bench to spark the team. A&M transfer Alex Robinson, who was ruled eligible just before game time, was outstanding off the bench, pouring in 16 points on 11 shots, draining a pair of threes, and adding three rebounds, three assists, and a pair of steals. Karviar Shepherd was excellent as well, dropping 14 points of 4-6 shooting and pulling down six boards, including four offensive.
The Frogs forced 22 turnovers as they rotated between an aggressive man to man and a flummoxing 2-3 zone, showcasing their depth at the guard position on both ends of the floor. There will be plenty for Dixon to work on coming off of the win though; TCU continued to struggle from both the three-point and free-throw lines, shooting a frustrating 7-26 from behind the arc and a respectable 15-23 from the charity stripe.
The Celts were led by a pair of double digit scorers in junior Josh Bearden and senior Jason Brancato, who scored 14 and 13 points respectively. The Frogs held them under 44% from the floor, including 31% from deep, and out-rebounded them 38 to 27.
Ultimately, for a team in their first action of the season, and without one of their main contributors - Kenrich Williams was ruled out earlier Friday with a lower leg injury - it was as good an opening night as one could hope. TCU will stay in Fort Worth for the next three games, welcoming in Alabama State next Monday night at 8:00pm. The Frogs will then face Jacksonville State and Illinois State before heading to Las Vegas for the Global Sports Classic and their first real challenge of the season against UNLV.