Jamie Dixon has had Iowa State’s number since becoming the head coach at TCU, knocking off the Cyclones nine times against just two losses. But among those nine victories, Saturday’s in Ames is maybe the most impressive, and perhaps ranks among the very best of the Dixon era overall.
Bouncing back from a heartbreaking loss in Stillwater earlier in the week, TCU played the type of defense that had brought them such success in the early season, holding the 15th ranked Clones to just 31% shooting and a devastating 3-26 from deep. Though they turned it over too often once again (15 Saturday after 21 against Oklahoma State), they dominated the glass, holding a 39 to 28 advantage and limiting second chance opportunities for the home team. And while Mike Miles was scoreless in the first half for a second straight game, Damion Baugh bounced back and then some from missing a potential game-winning shot in his last game to become THE GUY for the Frogs Saturday afternoon. Baugh dropped a career high 23 on 11-17 shooting, showcasing an array of moves and the offensive skill set that made him a top recruit coming out of high school. He added seven steals (six in the first half) and seven rebounds along with five assists. Chuck O’Bannon added ten as the only other Frog in double digits, and Emanuel Miller continued his strong play with seven points and eight rebounds.
Miles missed his first five shots after missing his first ten earlier in the week, but responded in the second half with a quick five points to help extend the TCU lead at a critical juncture. Though his game clearly hasn’t been the same since a wrist injury suffered early in the second half against Baylor, he has gutted things out and tried to help his team in other ways. He’s also seen teammates step up and take over when necessary, much like Baugh did today.
The Cyclones, who have come back to earth in Big 12 play after an impressive preseason, can often live and die by the three ball; Saturday, the Reaper came calling as Kalscheur, Hunter, and Jackson combined to go just 2-18 from deep. The cold shooting enabled the Frogs to jump out to a relatively comfortable lead and hang on; TCU led 34-23 at the half and never looked back.
This is a critical win for a team trying their damndest to get off the bubble and land on the right side of it: Big 12 road wins are never easy, and knocking off a top 15 opponent in their house goes a long way toward how people feel about you come March. And with TCU’s next two games against ranked opponents — Texas and LSU — erasing the bad vibes from Stillwater and coming home from the short road trip with a split has to be huge for the team’s confidence.
Sure looks like it, at least:
Next up, TCU will meet #23 Texas for a home tilt Tuesday night. Tip off is set for 8:00pm and the Scholly will be rocking.