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TCU 69, Houston Baptist 45: Nice

TCU Basketball vs Houston Baptist (11.25.20)
TCU Basketball vs Houston Baptist (11.25.20)
Melissa Triebwasser

The Frogs took care of business on Wednesday night, dismissing Houston Baptist 69-45 to kick off the season 1-0. A win by 24 points is always good, and the fact that it could have been even bigger had TCU not pulled off the gas in the second half.

12 Frogs played and nine scored, as the Horned Frogs cruised. Dixon mentioned earlier in the week that the pandemic had limited his ability to see multiple lineups in practice, and he seemed to want to see a variety on Wednesday night.

“We’re in a unique situation with the redshirts, obviously no one is really going to lose a year this year so no purpose in redshirting (guys) so that puts situations in play. We are going to play a lot of guys and rely on our length and athleticism.”

RJ Nembhard was in street clothes on the sideline tonight, and Jaedon LeDee was absent too. Dixon didn’t say much about RJ after the game other than to say “Let’s just say he wasn’t suspended.”

Freshman guard Mike Miles led TCU with 13 points on the night, and he looked incredibly good. Miles started, and added five assists and three steals to his 13 point tally in 21 minutes played. He undoubtedly would have played more, but he was hobbled by a leg injury early in the second half and went back to the locker room multiple times.

“He’s made good decisions for a freshman,” Dixon said after the game, “He came in with good feel, played at a high level, he’s won, he’s a tough freshmen. We’ve seen this all year long. We’ve seen it in practice, other than being in quarantine for 60 days, his passing was really good and defense was really solid. We expected big things out of him and he’s coming along fine.”

Chuck O’Bannon was a rebound away from a double-double in his first game as a Horned Frog, as the former USC Trojan added 11 points and nine rebounds to the stat sheet. It was O’Bannon’s first game in almost two years due to injury and transfer, and you could tell he was happy to be back on the court.

“It was great,” he said after the game, “I love basketball so just to come out here, be with these teammates, it was great to be out here.”

Taryn Todd and Francisco Farabello both showed accuracy from range, knocking down a combined 4-8 from three. One of the big questions coming into this season was how TCU could make up for the void Desmond Bane leaves, especially shooting. If Todd and Farabello can hit shots consistently from deep, they’ll keep defenses honest all season.

TCU jumped out to a 15-0 lead before Houston Baptist knew what was happening, and never looked back. The Frogs maintained around a 20 point lead for the majority of the game after that, pulling out to as many as 29 before finishing with a 24 point victory.

Kevin Easley, Taryn Todd, PJ Fuller, and Diante Smith all saw significant minutes as well, and they all scored in multiple ways.

For all the questions about TCU’s team this year, one thing is pretty apparent. This team is incredibly athletic, and will play solid team defense.

We could try and glean a ton more from a win over Houston Baptist, but the reality is we’ll know more the further into the season we get.

TCU now heads to Kansas City for the Hall of Fame Classic, where they take on Tulsa this Saturday at 6:30pm.