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TCU 76, Utah 62: Frogs use the fast break, tough defense to overwhelm Utes

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TCU improves to 7-1 ahead of a Saturday matchup against Texas A&M.

@TCUBasketball

Mike Miles matched his scoring career-high with 28 points on Wednesday night as TCU cruised past Utah 76-62 at Dickies Arena.

TCU improved to 7-1 on the season and gave fans new signs of an improving squad with legitimate potential. Defensively, the Frogs held Utah to their lowest scoring output of the season and managed to turn that quality defense into fast break attempts.

The Frogs scored 18 points in transition tonight to just six for the Utes, a key to TCU growing their lead in the first half and maintaining it throughout the second.

Jakobe Coles also had a big night, scoring 10 points and pulling down seven rebounds, while also contributing four assists, a block, and a steal. Jamie Dixon noted that the versatile forward gives TCU quite a few options when he’s in the game.

“You know, we can run different plays, different sets when he’s in there. We can guard differently too to some degree...It can help us in all different ways, end of game situations especially.”

Coles scored all ten of his points in the second half, including a layup at the 5:54 mark of the second half to break a 2+ minute scoring drought for the Frogs, pushing their lead back to 10, 62-52.

Emanuel Miller also reached double-digit points with 10, but it was his energy and defense that helped TCU the most late. Miller also put an exclamation point on the victory with a breakaway dunk in the final few minutes that pushed TCU fans to their feet.

Miles finally got off to a good start, after multiple poor shooting nights in a row. The sophomore hit his first three shots of the night, scoring TCU’s first seven points of the game. He seemed to be the only Frog ready at tip, as TCU fell behind 11-5 early. Poor rotation on defense let Utah get in the paint consistently early, as the Utes got six of their first eight points right at the rim.

Miles willed the Frogs to stay in it, and a corner three helped TCU pull to within one, 13-12, with 14:03 left in the half.

TCU then used a quick 6-0 run after the under-12 timeout to pull ahead 18-15, and the maintained a lead for the majority of the half after that, save one tie.

With the game knotted at 22, Damion Baugh forced a turnover and kicked it to Farabello on the fast break. David Jenkins Jr. tried to recover for the Utes, but wound up hacking Farabello on the head. Jenkins was assessed a Flagrant 1 foul, and Farabello made both free throws to give TCU a 24-22 lead.

that would be the start of a 10-0 run for TCU that included phenomenal defense and incredible efficiency on the fast break.

TCU finished the first half on a 14-5 run, taking a 36-27 lead into the break.

Coming out of the half TCU found itself in foul trouble. The Frogs were called for five fouls in the opening two minutes of the half, as Xavier Cork and and Eddie Lampkin both had to sit down with three apiece.

In spite of the foul trouble, TCU maintained a ~10 point lead for the first eight minutes of the second half. Utah was forced to call timeout with 12:12 remaining in the game after a beautiful skip pass from Farabello found Coles in the corner, who splashed it home for three and a 54-42 TCU lead.

TCU’s lead stayed around 12 for the rest of the game, with Utah giving the Frogs everything they could handle and TCU holding them off well. Utah drew to within 10 with 2:00 left on the clock, but Mike Miles responded with a strong drive to the rim, pushing TCU’s lead back to 72-60.

The Frogs were able to hold Utah at bay for the second half, pulling out a quality win with relative ease.

TCU now heads to Houston to square off against Texas A&M in the Toyota Center, a reunion of sorts for Emanuel Miller against his former team.

“It’s going to be a fight. A&M is a great team, but I would lie to you if I said I wasn’t looking forward to this game. This game means so much to me,” Miller said after Wednesday night’s victory.

“I can’t wait to play my former teammates, my brothers that I played with for the past two years. I’m just excited.”

Check out the full postgame interviews below: