Los Angeles, CA - Alex Robinson returned to action for TCU, after missing the Frogs’ game against SMU, and added 10 points and 3 assists in the midst of TCU’s 84-80 win over No. 22 Nevada.
Kenrich Williams recorded yet another double double on the season (16 points, 11 rebounds), and Jaylen Fisher finished with a team-high 20 points and six assists as the Frogs extended their nation-leading win streak to 15 games.
It was TCU’s first matchup as a ranked team, facing a ranked opponent, since No. 15 TCU took on No. 20 New Mexico in the WAC Tournament in March of 1998.
Kenrich Williams started off hot for the Frogs again, scoring the first five points as TCU jumped out to an early 8-2 lead. TCU was perfect from the floor through the first four minutes of the game, going 3-3 from the floor, including 2-2 from deep. That was supplemented by a 4-4 start from the free throw line.
TCU maintained a small lead for the majority of the first half, until a Desmond Bane three pointer, followed by a layup from Vladimir Brodziansky, pushed TCU’s lead to nine, 28-19, forcing Nevada to call a timeout with 7:19 remaining in the half.
The timeout wouldn’t help Nevada much, as the Frogs extended their lead to 13 after a four-point play from JD Miller. The Frogs maintained a solid lead throughout the remainder of the half, thanks to 63% shooting from the floor as a team.
The lights out shooting was boosted by a 5-5 run on shots to end the half for the Frogs, and TCU took a 45-34 lead into the half. TCU has still not trailed at halftime this season, and the 45 point mark was the ninth straight game the Frogs broke 40 points in the first half.
To exemplify how far TCU basketball has come, here’s Geoff Craig.
To put in perspective, Frogs averaged 55 points per GAME in 2012-2013, their first year in the Big 12.— Geoffrey Craig (@Geoffrey_Craig) December 9, 2017
The Frogs would stumble out of the gate in the second half, shooting just 2-7 from the floor in the first four and a half minutes, but they maintained a 10-point lead at the under-16 timeout thanks to some good defense, and some very poor free throw shooting from Nevada. The Wolfpack made just three of their first eight free throw attempts of the half.
Big three pointers from Kouat Noi and Jaylen Fisher would help TCU maintain a double-digit lead, and TCU’s defense kicked up a notch, as did their rebounding. Fisher’s third three of the half would push TCU’s lead to 67-51 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Nevada would not go quietly into the night. An 8-2 run for the Wolfpack would cut TCU’s lead back down to 10 with just under eight minutes left.
A three minute scoring drought for TCU would allow Nevada to continue to hang around, and the Frogs’ lead was cut to six with under six and a half minutes to go. Nevada’s run would be boosted by free throws, and they’d stay within seven points for the next four minutes.
Some massive blocks from Vlad, plus a baby hook for his 1,000th point as a Horned Frog, would help TCU maintain their slim margin. Then, Kenrich would extend TCU’s lead back to 10 for a brief moment at the 1:44 mark with a big three pointer. It would be his last bucket, as he’d foul out on Nevada’s next possession. Williams finished the night with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Jaylen Fisher would help TCU close things out though, with some free throws, and a beautiful outlet pass to JD Miller with one minute left in the game. His final free throw with 2.8 seconds remaining pushed TCU’s shrunken lead to 84-80, effectively closing out the Wolfpack.
Cody Martin and Jordan Caroline would lead the way for Nevada with 27 and 21 points, respectively. Caleb Martin added 17 points for the Wolfpack, but the rest of the team would score just 15 points. Nevada falls to 8-2 on the season, with consecutive losses to Texas Tech and TCU, after opening the season 8-0.
TCU, meanwhile, had five Frogs in double-digits, led by Fisher with 20. The Frogs finished the night shooting 55.6% from both the floor, and from three point range. It was TCU’s second straight game shooting over 50% from deep.
The Frogs will no doubt move up significantly in the rankings this week, as SMU and Nevada are both highly regarded by both human voters and the various computer rankings.
This was also Jamie Dixon’s first game coached in his hometown of Los Angeles, and he’s got the ol’ 1.000 win percentage in his old stomping ground.
The Frogs remain the only unbeaten team in the Big 12, and they’ll likely enter conference play that way. TCU now has nine days off before they take on Texas Southern on December 18th.