TCU was run out of the gym on Big Monday, as Jarrett Culver and Texas Tech routed the Frogs 84-65. For TCU, they fall to 3-4 in Big 12 play, and they’re now 0-4 on the road in conference.
Culver and Matt Mooney led the way for Tech, both dropping in 18 points on the night. Carter’s night included a few highlight reel dunks late as Tech put several exclamation points on their victory over the Frogs.
Kouat Noi scored a team-high 17 points for the Frogs, but just four of those points came in the second half. Kevin Samuel quietly put a double-double effort together, scoring 10 points to go with 12 rebounds. Samuel was a perfect 4-4 from the floor on the night.
For the second straight game, Kouat Noi was the first Frog to score. He opened up with TCU’s first eight points, as the rest of the Frogs struggled. Meanwhile, Texas Tech’s abysmal offense, one that was rated 140th in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency, found a groove.
The Red Raiders shot the lights out of the ball over the first 12 minutes of the game, going 52.6% from the floor, and 50% (5/10) from three point range. The result was a 29-14 lead at the 7:51 mark of the first half for Texas Tech.
The hot shooting wouldn’t stop, either. TCU switched to a zone defense - something Jamie Dixon has admitted they aren’t very good at - in an attempt to protect Kouat Noi and Desmond Bane, both of whom were in foul trouble early. The result was more open threes for Tech, who continued to knock them down. The Red Raiders finished the half shooting 48.5% from the field and 43.8% from deep, while outrebounding TCU 17-14.
One aspect of TCU’s troubles was ball control. The Frogs turned it over eight times in the first half, resulting in 18 points for Texas Tech. Another aspect was simply that shots weren’t falling.
TCU shot just 2-10 from three in the first half, watching open three after open three clang off the rim into the arms of a Tech defender. The Frogs trailed 43-27 at the half. For Tech, it tied the most points they scored in a first half all season, while for TCU, it was a season low.
The Frogs offense picked it up significantly in the second half, and that was in large part to Desmond Bane. After shooting 0-4 in the first half, Bane scored 13 points over the opening 7:51 of the second half as TCU tried desperately to claw their way back into the game.
Bane’s burst of scoring seemed to open things up for TCU’s offense, and the Frogs shot 52% from the floor and 50% from deep in the second frame. Unfortunately, TCU’s defense struggled throughout the night. No combination of players, and neither zone nor man, seemed to make a difference to Tech’s hot shooting.
Texas Tech improved on their first half shooting, going 61.5% from the floor, and dunking all over the Frogs in the last three minutes of the game.
The Frogs trailed by as many as 20 on the night, and never got closer than 10 in the second half. All in all, it was an embarrassing, forgetful night for TCU.
But, it’s not a season-defining loss by any stretch of the imagination. The Frogs, while just 3-4 in conference, are still in a good position to make the NCAA Tournament. They still have six more conference home games, and of their five remaining road games, three are against teams in the bottom four of the conference (Texas, Oklahoma State, and West Virginia).
That doesn’t mean TCU’s road gets easier from here, by any means. But it certainly signals that TCU has an opportunity to turn things around.
The Frogs head to Waco this weekend to play Baylor. TCU beat Baylor 85-81 to kick off their Big 12 schedule. Since then, Baylor has gone 5-1 in conference. Their lone loss is to Kansas by five, and their current five game winning streak includes a 30-point win over Oklahoma and an 11-point win over Texas Tech.