The TCU Horned Frogs are bringing home some hardware early in the season as they were crowned champions of the Emerald Coast Classic in Florida over the weekend. The Frogs played ULM at home a week before Thanksgiving—winning 95 to 60 and showing signs of life from what we’d expected of the Team following last year’s season to remember. Then, on Black Friday, the Frogs took on Cal in the semi-final, hoping to advance to the championship Saturday night. Let’s take a look at how the Frogs did in the games over the holiday weekend:
TCU v. California – Friday, November 25
Frogs win, 59 – 48
Mike Miles, 23 points, 9-22 shooting
Facing a struggling Cal team who started the season 0-5 (and soon to be 0-6), the game started as a battle of who was more hungover from turkey and stuffing the night prior. Neither team could make shots. After TCU hit two threes to start the game, the lid was on the basket from deep and it took until late in the second half before a third three (and only other shot from deep) finally dropped. The Frogs shot 17% from three, 39% from the field, and went multiple stretches of 4 and 5 minutes without scoring at all. Luckily, they were facing a Cal Bears team who struggled mightily with many other facets of the game of basketball. Although TCU was outshot by the Golden Bears (41% from the field and 31% from three), the Frogs forced 19 turnovers and the Golden Bears consistently found themselves in foul trouble.
It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win. The two sore spots from this matchup were of course the three point shooting woes continuing, and there was a distinct lack of defensive motivation in the first half—chalk that up to downplaying a struggling opponent. The two highlights are Mike Miles’ second half, rust-breaking performance where he continued to attack the rim like he had a vendetta against the well-being of his body, and finding his stroke as he hit some pure, mid-range jumpers. The second highlight is the way the defense buckled down in the second half. Coming out by forcing three straight turnovers that led to three layups and essentially placed the game out of reach for the remainder of the evening.
TCU v. Iowa – Saturday, November 26
Frogs win, 79-66
Micah Peavy, 16 points (2-4 from three), 8 rebounds
Mike Miles, 15 points, 50% FG%
With Miles back in the starting lineup and Peavy earning the start, the Frogs faced their most talent opponent of the young season in the ranked and undefeated Iowa Hawkeyes. The Frogs shooting was drastically improved in this game, as the team shot over 54% from the field and eclipsed the 35% mark from three—hitting 5 threes—but taking smarter shots overall. However, the defining factor of this game was the defense from the Frogs, which was much more aligned to what we would expect from this squad. The defense in the second half was staunch and held Patrick McCaffery scoreless while holding the entire Iowa team to a sub-20% three point percentage.
Again, Miles was facilitating and attacking the rim relentlessly, but Peavy provided a nice spark—right from the tip as he hit the first three and boosted the Frogs in their initial 9-0 run against the Hawkeyes. When all was said and done, the Frogs had knocked off a ranked team and captured their second Emerald Coast Classic trophy in five years.
Hopefully this performance is more indicative of what we’ll see from the Frogs moving forward. The season is quickly progressing and conference play is about one month out from today.