This team definitely missed Fish and Noi in the opener.
“We’re learning in many ways,” Dixon said. “We’re dealing with some things [injury-wise], we’ve got three guys with experience, we’ve got the ranking people are talking about, so everybody is going to look that we weren’t that good. Maybe today we weren’t, but we are going to be very good.”
TCU got off to a slow start, trailing 29-18 at one point in the first half. And, anytime the Frogs appeared to be on the verge of a run, the Roadrunners knocked down another shot.
TCU cut the deficit to 34-28 with 1:14 left in the first half, and had a chance to make it a one-possession game in the final seconds. But Alok had a bad turnover and CSU Bakersfield’s Damiyne Durham drained a 3-pointer to make it a 37-28 lead at half.
TCU shot just 37 percent from the field (10-for-27) and 22 percent from 3-point range (2-for-9) in the opening half.
After a slow start, Bane got it going when TCU needed it most.
Bane scored 13 of his 14 points after halftime, when the Horned Frogs rallied to beat Cal State Bakersfield 66-61 on Wednesday night after trailing by as many as 11 points.
“Just kind of stuck with it,” Bane said. “There were times when other people were getting open looks in the first half and I just felt like it was kind of falling my way in the second half.”
Bane’s tiebreaking driving layup with 2:48 left finally put TCU ahead to stay. Bane also had 10 rebounds.
The Horned Frogs fell behind early in their first opener as a ranked team since 1998-99. That preseason ranking was after the Horned Frogs had gone to the 1998 NCAA Tournament, their last one before making it last March in the second season for coach Jamie Dixon at his alma mater.
Cal State Bakersfield, which like TCU was in the NIT semifinals two seasons ago, jumped ahead 29-18 less than 12 minutes into the game, and led 37-28 at halftime.
“That’s something that was different for us, and we responded in the second half,” point guard Alex Robinson said. “It’s new for all of us, being prepared that everybody’s going to come out and give us their best shot.”
Can the Frogs play it close again?
“We really have had a history of playing very, very close games when we get together,” Patterson said. “It seems like every game has come down to the last series or has gone into overtime.
In fact, the first-three Big 12 meetings (2012-14) between the two schools were decided on the game’s final play, including two in overtime. TCU won its initial two Big 12 games in Morgantown on the game’s final snap.
“It always seems like the game comes down to the final series,” WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said. “I can’t remember a game that wasn’t a hard fought, physical battle from the opening kickoff.”
Hopefully WVU has a let down game here.
1. TCU’s health
Earlier this week, head coach Gary Patterson detailed his squad’s injury issues this season, noting that the coaching staff had to press a kicker into playing defensive end for his scout team. The problems are particularly acute on defense, with safety Niko Small and linebacker Ty Summers among the walking wounded on the injury report.
The Horned Frogs need all hands on deck if they want to slow down West Virginia’s high-octane offense. Right now, it appears they will be playing shorthanded instead.
Almost a year since his hiring, reviews have been positive for the Frogs’ AD.
Also, TCU will host the Maggie Dixon Classic, an annual early season women’s college basketball tournament that was first played in 2006. The classic is played in honor of Maggie Dixon, sister of TCU men’s basketball coach Jamie Dixon, who in April 2006, just after leading the Army team to their first ever NCAA Tournament berth, died suddenly due to an arrhythmia caused by a previously undiagnosed heart condition.
TCU will meet Army on Dec. 2 in Fort Worth for the 13th annual event.
”Obviously, that’s a huge deal for Jamie,” Donati said. “We hadn’t heard that Madison Square Garden was going to re-up for the Classic and Raegan (Pebley, TCU women’s head basketball coach) actually came up with the idea last year to offer to host it. It reinvigorated Jamie’s passion for the project and we are happy to say the Maggie Dixon Classic is coming to Fort Worth.”