JaKobe Coles leads the Frogs to a 3-0 start to the season with a victory over UTRGV 88-55. Coles led the team with 16 points, four rebounds and two assists, leading in points for a third straight game. Avery Anderson III and Jameer Nelson Jr. added 15 points each.
The Frogs are working persistently to establish an early offensive rhythm to set the tone for their matchups. Emanuel Miller emphasized the need for a strong start and finish, but the UTRGV Vaqueros made it challenging for the Frogs to maintain the lead until 8:33 left on the clock.
Coles said he isn’t too concerned with TCU’s ability to come out strong in the first half because once the team regroups, they can take off.
“Sometimes you just have to regroup during halftime,” said Coles. “They played really well in the gaps and forced a lot of turnovers in the beginning, so we just had to talk. Once that happened we were able to clean everything up, take good shots and fortunately they started falling for us. I’m satisfied but we need to continue getting better.”
Micah Peavy and Xavier Cork helped the Frogs break away from a tied 16-16 game with a good layup and jumper, taking the lead 20-16. TCU looked a step slower, exhibiting sloppy ball movement that resulted in 12 total turnovers in the first half. However, the Vaqueros were only able to score two points off TCU’s turnovers.
HALF | #TCU 33, UTRGV 22— Jamie Plunkett (@FrogPreacher) November 15, 2023
A sloppy half of play comes to an end. The Frogs shot 43.3% from the field, with 10 fouls and 12 turnovers.
Jameer Nelson Jr. leads all scorers with nine. Chuck O'Bannon pulls down six boards. JaKobe Coles with seven points and four rebounds.
Jameer Nelson Jr. made his presence known on both sides of the ball and led the team with nine points at halftime, securing a 10-point lead of 33-22. Nelson Jr. is steadily evolving into a formidable presence on the court, keeping defenders on their toes.
“I felt that going from offense to defense quickly, rebounding or stealing, is keeping the defense on their heels,” said Nelson Jr. “I feel like Avery and I do a good job of being in the gaps and getting a lot of steals.”
Fortunately for the Frogs, they demonstrated their ability to ignite a spark in the second half. TCU showed no signs of slowing down, adding 55 more points in the second half. Head Coach Jamie Dixon said postgame the message coming out of intermission was that they were going to play a great second half and the Frogs did just that.
“I thought we did and played better,” said Dixon. “Sixteen assists in the second half compared to our eight in the first half was the most telling to me. Defensively we wanted to guard the three and I feel like they did a good job of that, especially because it was a point of emphasis this week.”
The Vaqueros narrowed the gap to within 10 points with 18:27 on the clock, trailing 28-38. TCU’s quick speed helped them regain the lead, with contributors like Avery Anderson, who added 13 points in the second half.
UTRGV’s Elijah Elliot took most of the shots for the Vaqueros, but it wasn’t enough ammunition to overcome the 10-point deficit. With 3:23 left in the game, TCU went on a 7-0 run over a 1:26 time period and Essam Mostafa sealed the victory with a well-executed layup, securing a 33-point win.
Dixon mentioned that the team had a poor offensive performance against Omaha, but they managed to pick up the pace, shooting 51 percent from the field completing 35 of 68 attempts, making 8 of 17 3-point shots, and only missing one free throw attempt. Dixon said he is encouraged with the improvement and liked the way they collected themselves in the second half.
“A lot of positives,” said Dixon. “They shot a good percentage, got the ball inside, and got our deflections at a high number.”
Up next, the TCU Horned Frogs will host their fourth-straight game at home against Mississippi Valley State on Friday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Schollmaier Arena.