Fort Worth, TX - TCU set a school record for made three point shots with 18, and Desmond Bane and RJ Nembhard both set personal bests as the Horned Frogs routed Louisiana-Lafayette 98-65 on Tuesday night.
Bane finished with 25 points, largely in part to a career-high seven made three point shots while Nembhard poured in 16 points. Nembhard credited his hard work this offseason and his consistency in getting to the gym this fall for his improved shot through two games this season. Jamie Dixon also mentioned that he’s been impressed with RJ’s work ethic, and that his shot will start falling more consistently.
As a team TCU shot 18-38 (47.4%) from deep, breaking the previous school record of 17 for made threes in a game. Edric Dennis Jr., transfer from UT-Arlington, hit the record tying and record breaking shots in the final minutes of the blowout.
The Frogs wound up winning by 33 points, but it didn’t look like it would be a blowout right at the start.
Louisiana came out on fire in the first half, hitting their first five shots and nine of their first 14 to pull out to a 24-19 lead at the under-12 timeout. Cedric Russell poured in 11 points over that time span, while Jalen Johnson added nine.
Meanwhile, Frogs not named Desmond Bane started very poorly, shooting just 2-11 from the floor in that same amount of time.
Something shifted for TCU after the first nine minutes of the game, though. Maybe it was Edric Dennis Jr. driving the lane and getting a basket, followed by him hitting two free throws. Something sparked TCU to new heights as they completely turned things around, finishing the half on an extended 33-11 run.
The run included fantastic defense from freshman PJ Fuller, including four steals and a breakaway dunk, and lights out shooting from Jaire Grayer and RJ Nembhard, who combined for 21 first-half points on 5-9 shooting from deep.
Meanwhile, Cedric Russell made just one of his last six shots of the half, being nearly silenced for the last 10 minutes.
TCU led 52-38 at the break, with Bane leading the way with 15 points.
The second half was more of the same for the Frogs, who jumped out to a 60-40 lead in the first few minutes and never looked back, cruising to a 98-65 victory to improve to 2-0.
In all, six Horned Frogs reached double digits in points, with PJ Fuller (15), Kevin Samuel (12), and Jaire Grayer (11) joining Bane, Nembhard, and Dennis Jr.
Kevin Samuel recorded his second double double of the season with 12 points and 12 rebounds, and he also recorded six blocked shots on the night. The sophomore now has ten blocked shots in TCU’s first two games of the season.
Meanwhile, PJ Fuller looked much more comfortable in his second college game, scoring 15 points but also playing fantastic defense and rebounding well. Fuller pulled down six rebounds and recorded four steals and two blocks as he flashed his athleticism consistently all night.
Fuller still made a few freshman mistakes, but overall it was a very solid game from the former 4-star recruit.
His counterpart freshman Francisco Farabello also looked more comfortable, scoring five points to go with seven assists and two steals. Four turnovers were a blemish that Jamie Dixon noted after the fact, but the pass-first point guard looks like he understands his role on a team full of scorers.
Freshman Diante Smith, who started the first game before going down with a hip flexor injury, did not play, not did Dixon give a definitive timeline for his return.
TCU moves to 2-0 on the season, and they now have almost a full week off to prepare to host Air Force on December 18th at 8:00pm at Schollmeier Arena.
Check out the full postgame press conference below: