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Panic has yet to strike in Fort Worth, but TCU head coach Jamie Dixon stressed the importance of getting his team back on track against the Auburn Tigers on Saturday to prevent stretching TCU’s losing streak to four.

“Obviously we need to get a win,” Dixon said. “It’s been a tough five days.”

Tough is putting it lightly. In a 75-69 loss at Texas Tech on Jan. 18, TCU was tied 64-64 with 4:50 to play, before the Red Raiders ended the game on an 11-5 run. Tech has lost just one game in Lubbock this season.

In a 62-53 loss to No. 6 Baylor on Jan. 21, TCU possessed a 48-47 lead with 5:27 remaining. However, Baylor then took the 16th and final lead change and finished the game on a 15-5 run. Two days later at Oklahoma State, TCU never held a lead in its 89-76 loss on Jan. 23, but tied the game 51-51 with 10:39 to play.

The Horned Frogs out-rebounded their opponents in every game of their three-game skid, as well as committing fewer turnovers.

Their problem is a simple one: the shots just aren’t going into the hoop.

The Horned Frogs have shot a combined 69-179 from the floor, 38.5 percent in their three consecutive losses.

“When you out-rebound teams and take care of the ball in all three losses, it’s obvious,” Dixon said. “We just have to knock down shots.”

The three-pointer also hasn’t been going in either, as TCU shot a total of 20-for-78 from three-point range,25.7 percent, during losses to OSU, Texas Tech and No. 5 Baylor.

“We’ve put our offense in place with the thought that the 3-point shot was going to be a big part of it,” Dixon said. “To be honest with you, it’s let us down the last three games. There’s no other way to put it.”

But shooting is a fickle thing. The Horned Frogs could turn it around at any moment. “I think the biggest thing we have to go against is how we feel about shooting the ball because we have to and can turn that into a positive,” Dixon said.
Dixon’s players have faith that a turnaround is on the horizon.
“I think we’re pretty strong mentally, and we’ve been out-rebounding our opponents and limiting turnovers, so it’s just going out there and hitting shots,” TCU freshman Desmond Bane said. “We’re going to figure this thing out.”
TCU’s first opportunity to snap out of their current predicament is a home game against an SEC foe, Auburn.
“They’re a team that’s athletic, young, but good size, and they’re adding a tough freshman late in the season this semester,” Dixon said.
That freshman is Austin Wiley, who has played 191 total minutes in five games after graduating high school in December. He rated a five-star recruit and was named SEC Freshman of the Week Monday after putting up 19 points and 9 rebounds in Auburn’s 84-64 win over Alabama on Saturday. The Tigers are 13-7 overall and 3-5 in the SEC after a 98-69 loss at South Carolina on Tuesday. Prior to the loss, the Tigers had won three of their previous four games
Some TCU players see Saturday’s game as an opportunity to experience a different style of play.
“You get a taste of what’s going on in the other conferences and you get a different style of basketball. It’s a different element of the game,” TCU sophomore guard Alex Robinson Jr. said. “It’s like football between the Big 12 and SEC.”

TCU has a 3-0 record all-time in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Last season, TCU defeated Tennessee, 75-63, on Jan. 30, and on Dec. 4, 2014, TCU won at Ole Miss, 66-54. In the first year of the challenge, TCU won at Mississippi State, 71-61, on Dec. 5.

Robinson Jr. is the only TCU player that has faced Auburn. He was a freshman at Texas A&M when the Aggies went 2-1 against the Tigers. He averaged 9.6 points, and 3.0 assists in the three meetings.

The Horned Frogs return home to Schollmaier Arena Saturday against Auburn. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m.