Emanuel Miller looked relieved after Monday night’s game, saying “It’s good to be in here after a win,” when he sat down to talk to the media.
His relief was earned. The junior tied his season-high 18 points and pulled down eight rebounds as TCU snapped their three game losing streak on Monday night, beating West Virginia 77-67.
The Frogs had five guys in double figures on the night, as Mike Miles added 15 points, Chuck O’Bannon contributed 11, and Damion Baugh and Xavier Cork both scored 10.
Collectively, the Frogs shot their highest percentage from the floor this season, making 53.7% of their shots.
Cork filled in for Eddie Lampkin in the starting lineup, after Lampkin was ruled out with a right knee injury. The freshman center injured his knee in the first half of Saturday’s matchup against Baylor, and was held out for precautionary reasons on Monday.
Dixon confirmed after Monday’s game that, while Lampkin’s knee was swollen, an MRI revealed no structural damage. TCU is hopeful that Lampkin can go on Wednesday, when TCU heads to Austin to play Texas.
Without Lampkin, one of TCU’s leading rebounders this season, the Frogs didn’t miss a beat on the glass out rebounding the Mountaineers 42-24. Every single Horned Frog that played on Monday night pulled down at least one rebound.
TCU also looked incredibly aggressive offensively, driving to the lane more frequently than any game in the past few weeks. It paid dividends as TCU scored 40 points in the paint, and Dixon made note of it afterward.
“I gave credit to our guys, and we’ve been working on this a lot, is our guys in the corners staying down in the dead corners,” Dixon explained. “We have a tendency to inch up and that takes away that driving lane.”
“I’ll watch it on film but what I was telling our guys during the game is that they were doing a much better job of staying down there in that dead corner in those situations.”
One of the leading drivers on the night was Mike Miles. Miles finally looked healthy again, as he consistently drove to the basket, made strong moves on the baseline, and found open teammates for easy baskets.
“They’re not fully healthy, it’ll probably be something I’m dealing with the rest of the year,” Miles said of his wrists after the game. “I don’t know exactly what’s wrong. All the MRI’s and X-Rays show that nothing is wrong, but they don’t feel the way they should.”
His aggression, along with incredible paint work from Emanuel Miller, helped TCU build a 43-32 lead with 4:24 remaining in the first half.
Unfortunately, the same demons that have tortured TCU all season reared their heads once again, as the Frogs failed to score in the final 4:24 of the first half. Taz Sherman, meanwhile, powered West Virginia on a 10-0 run to close the half, so West Virginia trailed by just one at the break.
Sherman had 17 first half points, doing whatever he wanted on offense even with a hand in his face.
“He hit two shots that we couldn’t have guarded any better in the first half,” Dixon said of Sherman after the game.
The Frogs opened the second half on a 9-2 run, sparked by some incredible play from Miller. The junior took a fast break pass from Baugh and converted a tough layup to open the second half scoring.
The next time down, Miller found Chuck O’Bannon in the corner for a three ball, and one possession later Miller took a quick flight as he soared up for a rebound and slammed it home.
Miller got one more basket at the 17:11 mark of the second half, pushing TCU’s lead to 52-44 and bringing Schollmaier to their feet.
The second half wasn’t without its troubles though, as the Frogs went on another extended scoring drought. The Frogs went from the 13:42 mark to the 6:34 mark without a made basket, making just five free throws over that 7:08 of game time.
Scoring droughts have been a theme for TCU this season, but on the flip side Monday night the Frogs scored 72 points in just 28:28 of game time. That’s a signal that the offense might be figuring things out at the right time.
Meanwhile, TCU’s defense clamped down on Sherman and West Virginia, giving up just nine made baskets in the second half. Sherman scored just six points after the break as West Virginia fell to 3-11 in Big 12 play.
TCU has a quick turnaround now as they head down to Austin Wednesday to face Texas, who is one game ahead of the Frogs in the Big 12 standings. That game tips off at 7pm on ESPN 2.
Check out the full postgame press conferences below: