Davis broke out Saturday. Can he put on a show for the second consecutive game tonight?
“He’s come a long way,” senior point guard Alex Robinson said of Davis. “Every game he’s gotten better. He’s gotten more comfortable with the speed of the game. He’s going to be good for us down the stretch.”
TCU coach Jamie Dixon likes having two point guards on the floor, and Davis’ emergence continues to soften what was lost when Jaylen Fisher decided to transfer last month.
It was seen Saturday when TCU went with a smaller lineup for much of the game against Iowa State, and posted its most impressive victory to date. The Cyclones were selected as one of the top 16 teams in the country hours before the game by the NCAA Tournament’s selection committee.
“Kendric was terrific,” Dixon said afterward. “He was a difference-maker for us. He’s defending better. He’s shooting jump shots now. He’s just become a better player as you hope all freshmen do as the year progresses.”
It’s a battle of who handles attrition better tonight.
Kansas will be without Lagerald Vick for an unknown amount of time due to personal matters and he was the team’s top 3-point shooter, making 45.5 percent of his outside shots. This puts even more burden on Dedric Lawson, who is averaging 19.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, to take total control for the Jayhawks.
Though TCU has had much more time to acclimate, it, too, is without a sharp-shooting guard in Jaylen Fisher. The team was 8-1 in games he played as he sunk 44.1 percent of his 3s. Since he decided to transfer and left the team for good after Christmas, TCU has had 70 points or fewer in seven of its 11 games as both teams have not been digging much into their respective benches since the departures.
Both these teams are solid but not great on defense, with TCU being 70th in defensive efficiency and Kansas 82nd among Division I teams. Though Kansas won the first meeting between these two 77-68, the Jayhawks needed 31 points and 14 rebounds from Lawson in that game while TCU went 9-of-21 from 3-point range.
Why not relieve this one one more time?
“The bottom line is we beat a very good team in one of the most difficult places to play in the country with incredible fans, incredible atmosphere.”
Credit TCU true freshman guard Kendric Davis.
Davis had a breakout game with a career-high 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field. He also had four assists to one turnover in a career-high 29 minutes.
“I knew I hadn’t been shooting the ball well, but I’d been getting good looks,” said Davis, who was 2-of-9 in the Frogs’ previous two games.
“I knew eventually they would fall. The same looks I got today I’ve been getting all season. Just being a freshman, trying to get the feel of the game, adjusting, the speed is way different coming straight from high school. I knew a lot of reps and the same shot I’ve been taken will eventually go in. They did tonight.”
Spring ball really isn’t all that far away.
Biggest unanswered question: Justin Rogers’ recovery timetable
This could also read “who will win the starting job?” but the truth is that a lot of it depends on how fast Rogers’ progresses with the drop-foot condition that has since developed in the past year. Rogers was able to take the field for several snaps during TCU’s 10-7 Cheez-It Bowl victory over Cal in December, but was clearly limited in terms of mobility. Given the nature of the condition, it’s virtually impossible to tell when he will reach a full-recovery, if at all. If that moment doesn’t arrive before Aug. 31, the Horned Frogs will be looking at three options: a true freshman, a graduate transfer, or a former Ivy-League quarterback whose full level of potential in the Big 12 remains relatively uncertain.