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TCU 71, Oral Roberts 63: Cinderella no more

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The Frogs move to 6-1 after defeating the 2021 March Madness Cinderella team.

Photo courtesy of @TCUBasketball on Twitter

In a showdown with 16 NBA Scouts in attendance, TCU Basketball came out on top against Max Abmas’s Golden Eagles. After an up and down game, the Horned Frogs prevailed 71-63 in front of the most electric atmosphere Schollmaier Arena has hosted this season.

All eyes were on Mike Miles and Oral Roberts’ Max Abmas, both of whom have garnered well-deserved NBA attention over the last couple of seasons.

If you’re unfamiliar with Abmas and why exactly beating “little ol’ Oral Roberts” is a big non-conference win for the Frogs, check out last year’s March Madness. ORU made a slight Cinderella run to the Sweet 16 led by Abmas’s ridiculous stats.

He has carried over his form into this season as well, averaging 22.3 points per game on 44.3% shooting entering tonight’s contest. So how exactly did the Frogs handle this caliber of a player?

Two words: Damion. Baugh.

The Memphis transfer was a key player for the Frogs tonight in just about every facet of the game. Baugh finished the day tied for a team-high in points with 13, shot 6-8 from the field, and had 3 steals and a block to show for on the defensive end.

Baugh was also given the difficult task of defending Max Abmas, which he handled swimmingly.

“We told him [Baugh] he’s [Abmas] getting 20 shots up, so we had to make them low efficiency, which is what we did. He forced turnovers as well which is part of it,” said head coach Jamie Dixon.

Abmas was held to 0 points and 4 turnovers until 6:00 remaining in the first half with Baugh guarding him. Although he finished the night with 20 points, the Frogs took him out of his element and forced the Golden Eagles to take the ball out of his hands.

“He can shoot from anywhere, he’s tough,” said Damion Baugh. “You’ve got to stay on your toes at all times.”

On the other side, Mike Miles had a slow start. A very slow start.

The sophomore guard started the day 0-10 from the field, but eventually found his rhythm to finish the night 5-18 shooting and tied for a team-high in points with 13. Regardless of his shooting woes, Miles was never rattled. He maintained composure, continued making smart basketball plays, and set his teammates up for success when he didn’t have the open shot.

“My teammates and my coaches give me the confidence to stay locked in and keep shooting,” said Miles. “I’m not shooting bad shots, they just haven’t been bouncing in the way I want them to.”

Miles also tied a career-high in assists tonight, finishing with seven.

Chuck O’Bannon had nothing but praise for his teammate’s performance.

“Mike Miles is Mike Miles, everybody here knows exactly who he is and exactly what he can do,” said O’Bannon.

O’Bannon had himself an excellent outing as well, finishing with 12 points and 6 rebounds on offense and a heap of defensive stats. Alongside Baugh, O’Bannon also had 3 steals in this one to coincide with his 2 blocks.

Although individuals like Baugh and O’Bannon stood out defensively tonight, this was an all-around effort.

“Everybody on that team can shoot the ball at a high clip. It was all about team defense tonight, and that’s what we did,” said O’Bannon.

Coach Dixon echoed this sentiment:

“Abmas is a challenge, but it’s also the 5-man shooting threes, the 4-man shooting threes, it just spreads you out everywhere,” said Dixon.

With this win, the Frogs move to 6-1 on the season and will face Utah in the Dickies Arena their next time out. The Utes will be the first Power 5 opponent TCU has faced this season.

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. CST on Wednesday, Dec 8 and the game will be broadcast via Big 12 Now on ESPN+.