The Frogs continued their limp through the February Big 12 schedule on Tuesday night as they headed to Manhattan to take on the #10 Wildcats, once again without leading scorer and possible Big 12 Player of the Year Mike Miles. Although Eddie Lampkin was back in the lineup (recording 18 minutes in the game), it was once again necessary for a true team effort to generate scoring for the Frogs. Unfortunately, the scoring came at an absolute premium for TCU—a team averaging 77 points per game struggle to eclipse 60 points on Tuesday night.
TCU has prided themselves on winning turnover battles, which in turn feeds their nationally-leading fast break machine, but the wheels were fully off the axle in the first half of the game against K-State. The Frogs came out sloppy, couldn’t hold onto the ball, and walked out of the first half with 13 turnovers to K-State’s 6. Out of character for TCU, but a familiar woe also made itself apparent during the first half: three-point shooting was in the basement again. The Frogs mustered a 2-8 shooting first half from deep. No one could really get it going offensively for TCU in the first half—Jakoby Coles was the leading scorer with 7 off the bench—and it seemed the only reason TCU was within two possessions at half was due to semi-poor shooting from K-State (34% FG in the first half), as the Frogs were out-hustled on both ends of the court.
Coming out of the break, TCU initially refused to let K-State gather much more of a lead than 6, even trimming the deficit to 2 a couple of minutes into the half, but that was as close as it would get for the Frogs. TCU continued its poor shooting night, only hitting one more three all game (ending the game 3-17 from deep), while K-State amped up their offensive effort, including a flurry of scoring late in the half to seal the game, punctuated by a logo-deep dagger three from Nowell. TCU was dominated on the boards, ending with a -12, including surrendering 13 offensive boards to K-State. Ultimately, Damien Baugh led the way for the Frogs offensively, with 16 points on an efficient 6-10 shooting, but when Miles is absent, TCU needs 3-4 players scoring 15+ to make up for the lost production and that simply wasn’t there Tuesday night. After scoring double digits in the first half, Coles, Peavy, and Miller only combined for 13 points in the remainder of the game. Additionally Lampkin produced nearly nothing statistically significant in his 18 minutes while Wells and Walker contributed a whopping 5 points combined in the game while trying to fill the Miles-shaped hole in the guard position.
Looking ahead, it doesn’t get easier for the Frogs—not that it ever would have in this conference. TCU faces Baylor at home Saturday afternoon, and while TCU escaped Waco with a win on the back of some Mike Miles heroics, don’t expect the same effort to yield a win at home this time. It will require: winning the turnover battle (leading to fast break points), three pointers to fall, and at least three Frogs outside of Damien Baugh to score more than 15 points. A little Lampkin energy would help juice the crowd as well. Meanwhile, we wait patiently for Miles return and hope there’s enough time to secure a desirable seed and knock the rust off heading into the tournament.