The Frogs had five players in double figures Saturday night in the final game of the Emerald Coast Classic, and they needed the team effort, as they looked a little tired in the second half of their first back to back of the season. But when they needed extra energy the most, they seemed to get it, especially in the form of attacking the glass.
TCU out-rebounded St Bonaventure 37-23 and had 17 offensive rebounds. The Bonnies had no answer for JD Miller, Kenrich Williams, and Kouat Noi on the glass, as the trio combined for 23 total boards and 1 on the offensive end. The defense was effective in spurts, especially once Jamie Dixon called for the zone late in the second half. It was enough to keep the Bonnies just out of reach, as they continued to battle and keep things close, but couldn’t quite close the gap down the stretch. Led by Isaiah Brockington’s 20 and Matt Mobley’s 18, St Bonaventure gave the Frogs all they could handle, attacking the paint and drawing fouls, as they shot a ridiculous 44 free throws, draining 32 of them. TCU, meanwhile, went 22-28, and did well down the stretch as the game got tight, a nice change from last night’s struggles.
Kenrich Williams was named the tournament’s most outstanding player, as he continued his hot shooting of a night ago by 17 and 11 in the finale. Jaylen Fisher had another outstanding game, leading all scorers with 20 on 5-9 shooting, despite being in foul trouble most of the night. He also led the Frogs with five assists. Kouat Noi had one of his best games as a Frog with 14 and five, Desmond Bane, also named to the all-tourney team, added 12, and Vladimir Brodziansky added 11. The Frogs shot 50% as a team and 7-17 from behind the arc, but had a concerning 18 turnovers compared to just 17 assists. Noi also added this big time highlight dunk:
Ahmed Hamdy had a really solid game as well, playing big minutes as Vlad dealt with fouls. He had nine points, three boards, an assist, and a block before fouling out late. He was very effective on offense, showcasing a soft touch around the rim and making a couple beautiful drives to the hoop. Alex Robinson, returning from a foot injury, continued to shake off the rust, scoring just two points, turning it over four times, but dishing out five assists. It’s looking more and more like Jaylen Fisher’s team, but the depth at guard is one of the biggest reasons to believe this team can make a deep run in March. They will need all hands healthy and on deck come Big 12 play, as well.
The Frogs have two quality wins on their resume early, as both St. Bonaventure and South Dakota look like tournament teams, and should be ranked in the next AP poll. TCU will get some rest now, as they don’t get back to game action until Wednesday, when they take on Belmont at 8:00pm at home looking for a 7-0 start.