The TCU Horned Frogs opened the season with an exhibition game against Texas Wesleyan, taking down the Rams 98-61.
The Frogs got off to a slow start in the first half. Texas Wesleyan maintained a close lead and the Frogs only managed to gain points from three returning players from last season: Emanuel Miller, Chuck O’Bannon, and JaKobe Coles.
Despite the initial setback, TCU exhibited remarkable strength from first-time Frogs. Trevian Tennyson, a transfer from Texas A&M Corpus Christi, made a impact hitting a 3-pointer at the 11:39 mark, lifting the score to 21-15.
As the game progressed, new players such as Jameer Nelson Jr., Ernest Udeh Jr., and Avery Anderson III bolstered the Frogs’ performance. With a layup by Nelson, the team began to break away, establishing a lead at 31-25.
The dynamic duo of Udeh and Nelson showcased promising potential, with Nelson assisting Udeh in securing two 2-point shots during the third quarter. Nelson expressed confidence in playing alongside Udeh, highlighting Udeh’s remarkable skillset and versatility
“He has incredible range,” said Nelson. “I have never played with a big like Ernest before. It’s just amazing to have him and I am glad he’s here.”
In the latter part of the first half, TCU found its offensive rhythm, embarking on a 5-0 run, Layups from Avery Anderson and Nelson, along with a 2-point shot by Udeh, expanding the score to 44-29.
Postgame, Emanuel Miller emphasized the team’s depth and versatility, and used JaKobe Coles as a prime example.
“We have a lot of players that can do things on the court,” said Miller. “JaKobe has worked on his handle, and you see him efficient on rebounds, and pushing us into transition. Helping us flow into our motion.”
Miller highlighted the increased involvement of several players who previously had limited opportunities in the previous season, leading to a more dynamic and versatile offensive approach for the team.
“You see Micah or myself, and a lot of players who didn’t get the ball last year they can act as more of a facilitator and really open our offense,” said Miller. “It shows how versatile we are as a team, one through fifteen, including the walk-ons, we compete.”
During the second half, the Frogs established their largest lead of 35 points at 86-51. Nelson Jr. displayed exceptional speed by securing two consecutive steals, converting them into a layup and a dunk, extending the lead to 52-31. Micah Peavy further bolstered the lead by scoring two consecutive 3-pointers, bringing the game to 72-49 with 10:38 remaining.
However, the Rams interrupted the Frogs’ 18-0 run after a personal foul was called on TCU’s Tyler Lundblade. Texas Wesleyan’s Adetokunbo Bakare scored a free throw, reducing the margin to 52-90. Isaiah Manning scored the final points for TCU with a good layup.
Head coach Jamie Dixon expressed the team’s offseason focus on offense, getting out in transition and moving the ball, but acknowledged the need to prioritize defensive improvements moving forward.
“It wasn’t a surprise to us about defense because we saw it in our scrimmage,” said Dixon. “They won with offense not defense. We need to get that fixed as well as rebounding because it is not up to standard right now.”
Dixon emphasized that the team’s current defensive and rebounding performance is “not even close” and will need improvement to make a run in the Big 12 this season.
Looking ahead, the Frogs must make defensive adjustments and aim for a strong start as they prepare to face the Southern Jaguars on Monday, Nov. 6. The game is set for an 8 p.m. tip-off at the Schollmaier Arena, streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.