FORT WORTH, TX - Jamie Dixon spoke about it during his media availability on Monday, saying Lipscomb would not be a cakewalk for TCU.
“We knew they were going to be good, and it was a team we were looking for. It’s a senior dominated team, very experienced and a very good club.”
He was right, as TCU loses their first game of the season a little too early, falling 73-64 to the Lipscomb Bison.
Alex Robinson led the way for TCU in the loss, scoring 17 points and pulling down 10 rebounds, to go with six assists, while true freshman Kendric Davis scored 14 points as he saw some big minutes down the stretch.
Kevin Samuel, coming off a double-double and six block effort last Thursday, got into foul trouble early and never seemed to get into a rhythm, scoring four points and pulling down just four rebounds in 18 minutes of play. He did record three blocks, but wasn’t on the court in the final stretch of the game, as Dixon chose to go with a smaller lineup to match Lipscomb.
“I felt like we’d get a little bit more done offensively with that group in there. Offensively it looked like it worked pretty well and defensively we got some stops, and it put us in position to win the game we just didn’t get it done.”
One silver lining to this game was the emergence of Kendric Davis, who has his far and away best game of the season.
“[Dixon] gives us freedom to make the right play. He trusts me as a freshman, putting me on the court in crunch time, so I just want to make the right play and help the team win.”
The Frogs fell short, but TCU may have found a future stud tonight.
TCU jumped out to an early 22-8 lead, and everything seemed like it was going to be smooth sailing. The Frogs were moving well on defense, dominating the boards, and Alex Robinson was leading the offense well.
But then everything changed.
Lipscomb is a senior-laden squad looking to reach the NCAA tournament again, after an appearance in 2017. They played like it from that point on. Outscoring TCU 40-17 over the next 17+ minutes of game time to take a 48-39 advantage in the second half.
Lipscomb’s defense was fantastic for most of the night, aided by the fact that the refs simply refused to call fouls on them. Regardless of the zebras, though, the Bison made life difficult for the Frogs, closing down passing lanes, clogging the paint, and forcing the Frogs into iso ball.
TCU looked lifeless until the final five minutes, when a series of great plays by freshman Kendric Davis seemed to give the Frogs some life. Down 60-53 with just 4:49 left in the game, TCU’s small lineup (Kendric Davis, Alex Robinson, Lat Mayen, Kouat Noi, JD Miller) forced a Lipscomb turnover that led to an Alex Robinson layup.
Another stop by the Frogs gave TCU the chance to make it a one-possession game, and Davis stepped up. Taking his defender off the dribble, Davis executed a flawless spin move and hit the floater, pulling TCU to within 60-57. On the next possession down Davis took a pass in the corner from JD Miller and drove the baseline for another layup with 3:13 left in the game.
“I think we got momentum going, we got some stops, ball started swinging, and I was able to get in the lane and make a couple plays,” Davis said afterward. “The pace was very different with two point guards on the floor, with me and Alex. I was able to get in the lane and make some plays.”
It wouldn’t be quite enough, though. TCU kept it within a one possession game until the final 1:10, when a big three from Garrison Matthews put Lipscomb up 69-63, and it felt at that point like the Frogs would come up short.
Jaylen Fisher played just seven minutes on the night, including zero in the second half. When asked about him after the game, Dixon said that Fisher just didn’t feel comfortable out there.
Kouat Noi was also making his season debut, and his looked just a tick off. It didn’t keep him from shooting, though, as he finished just 1-7 from the floor, all from behind the arc. Noi did look good defensively and on the glass, as he pulled nine rebounds down.
The Frogs have the rest of the Thanksgiving break off, before hosting Eastern Michigan next Monday. The Eagles just suffered a humiliating loss to Rutgers, during which they scored just four first half points, and finished with 36 for the game.
So TCU drops to 3-1 on the season, and looks to get back in the win column next week. The season is far from over, as Dixon pointed out afterward.
“Our season isn’t over. This isn’t football. It’s not the BCS.”