TCU Basketball bounced back from a disappointing performance against Santa Clara Monday night to earn their fourth win of the season, upending Pepperdine 73-64 Wednesday in the finale of the SoCal Challenge.
Chuck O’Bannon had the kind of night Jamie Dixon is hoping for from the sharp-shooter, scoring 12 points and connecting on a pair from deep. His season-high scoring performance was bracketed by a double-double from Emanuel Miller, who continued his strong play on both ends of the floor with 15 points and 10 rebounds, with six of those boards coming on the offensive end, as the high-motor Miller continues to prove his value in a myriad of ways.
After struggling offensively Monday, sophomore point guard Mike Miles somewhat returned to form in the second game of the trip, scoring a team-high 16 points, dishing three assists, and pulling down five rebounds. He worked well alongside Damion Baugh, playing his first game since the opener after suffering a sprained ankle. Baugh’s savvy play and veteran presence were absolutely a difference-maker for TCU, who seemed far more fluid on offense after looking like a constipated disaster against the Broncos two nights prior.
Pepperdine used missed shots and turnovers to cut the TCU lead to just three with under nine minutes to play, but TCU went on a quick 6-0 run — with Mike Miles on the bench — to stretch the lead to nine at the under eight. Baugh had a great take with a beautiful kiss off of the glass, followed by back-to-back Miller scores to make it 62-53 Frogs. Miller stayed involved down the stretch, keeping an offensive rebound alive that led to a bucket in a critical spot and tipping a ball to JaKobe Coles that led to a layup that stretched the lead to eight. The A&M transfer has been a boon for the Frogs, as he seems to always be around the ball and in the mix of any action on the court.
For a while, it looked like Jan Zidek was going to will the Waves to a win, but every time the man the announcers called “a baby Dirk Nowitzki” made a play, the connection of Damion Baugh to JaKobe Coles seemed to answer. The pick and roll between the guard and forward was absolutely lethal down the stretch Wednesday, as Baugh picked apart the defense with a series of beautiful passes and Coles did work at the rim to keep the Waves at bay.
Though the Frogs were a bit messy down the stretch, including a technical foul for a flop by Baugh and a shot-clock violation with just over 30 ticks to play, the Waves missed enough scoring opportunities and TCU made enough plays to secure the win. The biggest defensive stretch down the stretch came at the hands of Coles, who denied two potential three point shooters the opportunity to get a shot off, blocked a shot in the lane, and forced a tie up all in about ten seconds of a critical stretch with less than 30 seconds to play.
As Dixon continued to tinker with his lineups, he seemed to find something that worked in Miles, Baugh, Miller, and Coles, with O’Bannon and Peavy alternating at the guard spot. There was a better on-court chemistry than we have seen, as this almost all-new team continues to try and figure each other out. Nine different players scored for the Frogs Wednesday, with guys like Micah Peavy, Eddie Lampkin, and Francisco Farabello all finding ways to contribute to the win in more ways than just the box score. It was a much more complete effort on both ends of the floor and a much more entertaining brand of offense than we saw last time out.
TCU will return home to matchup with Austin Peay Monday night, a game that will feature a pair of brothers facing off with each other in Horned Frog Micah and Governor DJ Peavy. That game is set to tip off at 7:00pm at Schollmaier Arena.