In a vacuum, this isn’t a bad loss. Going to Waco and dropping a game to a top ten team isn’t shameful in and of itself, but the way this game played out, and what it means for TCU Basketball’s future, makes this loss feel worse than it would have appeared on paper.
For the Horned Frogs, whose remaining schedule — seven games in 14 days — is the fifth toughest in college basketball, for a team who came into the game slotted as a ten seed in the NCAA Tournament but is likely bounced to the bubble at best after, in facing an opponent that played just seven players and didn’t hit a three ball until the final seven minutes of the contest... the loss lands with a resounding thud.
Throw in that Eddie Lampkin was injured (he returned, but didn’t look right) and could miss time?
TCU Basketball is down bad.
The Frogs got out to a slow start in the Ferrell Center, committing five turnovers in the first five and a half minutes of game play while managing just two made baskets. This allowed the Bears to jump out to an early 10 point lead, as they put up 14 points in the opening six minutes. Micah Peavy stepped in and stepped up, sparking the O with seven quick points to get his team within four. A Mike Miles layup made it 18-16 with just over 10 minutes to play in the half, but a 10-0 run by the home team followed and the Frogs never got closer that six from there.
Much like the last time out on the road, a poor close to the first half led to a poor start in the second, and it was exacerbated by an injury to Eddie Lampkin late. The fan favorite fell awkwardly, tweaking his right knee, and forcing him to exit to the locker room. Though he would return — wearing a brace — he was clearly hampered and his minutes limited.
The 33-23 halftime lead was soon a 16 point advantage with just 1:45 taken off the clock, as the Frogs missed three shots in the paint and turned it over once in the opening minutes. Baylor’s first made three of the game, coming with just 7:23 to play, stretched the lead to 17, and the second pushed it to 20. The Bears took their biggest lead, 21, with 4:58 to play, but a 13-2 TCU run over the final five made the final score respectable.
The same issues remained for TCU Saturday, as they turned it over 15 times (many unforced), were just 2-11 from three, and 43% from the field. There were three very frustrating turnovers on baseline out of bounds play, including a five second call out of a timeout, and sloppy play overall. The Bears, missing three key players and using just a seven man rotation, outworked the Frogs on the defensive end and got key stops when they needed them most. It was a frustrating loss based not on result but how it went down.
Micah Peavy and Emanuel Miller turned in solid offensive performances, scoring 16 apiece on a combined 14-23 shooting day. Miles was also in double digits, scoring 13 on 17 shot attempts. The Bears had five players in double digits and were led by Sochan who had 17 off the bench.
Next up for the Horned Frogs is a brutal stretch: seven games: three on the road, two against conference-leading Kansas, and four against ranked opponents. Now 16-7 overall and 5-6 in the Big 12, the road to March Madness will be exceptionally bumpy. It begins Monday night against West Virginia in Schollmaier Arena.