DALLAS, TX - Jaylen Fisher hit four threes in the second half, and JD Miller was a monster in the paint on both ends of the floor, leading TCU back from a 10-point first half deficit to a 67-59 win over SMU on Wednesday night.
Fisher and Miller both finished with 15 points for TCU, while Miller pulled down 7 rebounds. Miller played most of the game at the 5, as TCU went with a smaller lineup that featured multiple shooters and better inside-out ball movement.
The incredible thing about this game, though, was TCU’s defense, which held SMU to just 24% from the floor in the second half. The Frogs rotated well, forcing SMU into bad shots and multiple turnovers.
“We gutted it out, grinded it out, didn’t make shots early, got it done with our defense,” Jamie Dixon said after the game.
SMU head coach Tim Jankovich noted TCU’s defense after the game as well.
“I thought we had some really, really good shots that didn’t go in, and I thought there were periods when, defensively, TCU did a great job. There were some stretches where we were having a hard time getting a good shot. So, you’ve got to give them credit. That was the story of the game.”
The first half was up and down for the Horned Frogs, who held an 11-9 lead at the 12:28 mark of the half thanks to some solid defense and good ball movement on offense. Desmond Bane had a breakaway dunk, Yuat Alok scored some good buckets around the rim, and the offense seemed to be clicking.
Things started to fall apart pretty quickly, though, as the Frogs saw SMU go on a 19-7 run to pull ahead 28-18 with 5:00 left in the half. Isiaha Mike and Jahmal McMurray combined for 20 of SMU’s first half points, and both hit big shots during that run to help pull SMU ahead.
TCU would battle back, as Kouat Noi, Kendric Davis, and Jaylen Fisher all hit threes to help pull TCU to within 33-29 with 1:38 left in the half.
SMU would score one more basket to finish things off for first half scoring.
It certainly seemed in the first half like the referees were favoring SMU. JD Miller picked up an extremely questionable flagrant foul, as he boxed out an SMU player for a defensive rebound. Meanwhile, TCU was hit with twice as many foul calls in the half than SMU (8-4).
That being said, TCU shot just 36.4% in the first half, and a paltry 17.6% from deep, while SMU shot 50% from the floor. Those kind of numbers will get you beat every time.
Jaylen Fisher looked poised to bring the Frogs all the way back early in the second half. Two quick threes form Fish pulled the Frogs to within one, 36-35, and some strong defense helped TCU force the Mustangs into an 0-8 start from the floor.
After SMU’s first bucket of the half put them up 41-37, Desmond Bane went on a personal 5-0 scoring run to give TCU their first lead in almost 20 minutes of game time, 42-41.
The Frogs started getting hot from deep, too, hitting five of their first eight threes from deep. Fisher, Bane, and Kouat Noi all got in on the action, as TCU pulled out to a 54-51 lead.
A putback bucket from Noi after a missed Bane three gave the Frogs a 56-51 lead, then Alex Robinson stole the ball and went all the way the other way for a layup. TCU’s 58-51 lead forced SMU to call a timeout with 6:26 left in the game.
SMU wouldn’t go away, mostly because Jahmal McMurray wouldn’t let them. McMurray finished with a game-high 19 points, and hit several buckets to pull SMU within five, 60-55, with 5:41 remaining.
Fisher hit another three to put TCU up 63-55, and a thunderous dunk from Miller brought the TCU fans in Moody Coliseum to their feet, chanting T-C-U. Four free throws in the final minute from Miller sealed the deal for TCU late.
The Frogs move to 6-1 on the season, and they get on a plane Thursday to fly to Los Angeles. They’ll face off against USC on Friday night in the Staples Center, looking to keep their winning streak alive.
Check out the full Postgame comments from Dixon, Fisher, and Miller below: