Men’s basketball shows off chemistry, dominates Louisiana 98-65

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Guard Desmond Bane recorded his second-straight 20-point game against the Ragin’ Cajuns. Photo by Cristian ArguetaSoto.

Looking to find an identity for a team compiled with new faces, TCU men’s basketball rode a program-record 18 three-pointers to a resounding 98-65 victory over Louisiana.

“I’m really happy with how we played,” head coach Jamie Dixon said. “We played with discipline, we played the right way, we did the right things, we got the right guys shots, and we kept guarding with a big lead.”

The game was a team effort, as the Frogs finished with six players in double figures in the win, totaling 26 assists as a team.

Guard Desmond Bane recorded his second-straight 20-point performance with a career-high seven three-pointers made. The senior finished with a game-high 25 points to go with seven rebounds and five assists.

Alongside Bane, center Kevin Samuel was a force inside, posting 12 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks.

After struggling against Division III opponent Southwestern University in the first half of their season opener, TCU looked much more comfortable early against Louisiana.

The Ragin’ Cajuns, led by guard Cedric Russell and forward Jalen Johnson, jumped ahead early and led for most of the first half.

The Frogs crawled back, though. Behind 12 points on four three-pointers from Bane, TCU took the lead with under eight minutes to play in the first half and kept it into the halftime break.

In their season opener, the Frogs led the Pirates by just four at half. Against the Ragin’ Cajuns, TCU went into the locker room with a 52-38 halftime lead and total control.

Of Louisiana’s 38 points, 30 had come from Russell and Johnson combined.

“Good players,” Dixon said about Russell and Johnson. “We’ve done it two games in a row. We let guys hit tough shots early, and confidence builds.”

The Frogs didn’t slow down in the second half.  After the Ragin’ Cajuns scored to open the half, TCU ripped off on an 8-0 run to take a 20-point lead with 16:34 left to play.

The run was sparked by an emphatic one-handed putback dunk by guard Jaire Grayer. The George Mason transfer finished with 11 points and nine rebounds on his 23rd birthday.

Midway through the half, Louisiana put together an 11-1 run to pull within 12, but TCU quickly responded with a 5-0 run of their own to open the lead again.

That’s as close as the Ragin’ Cajuns got, as the Frogs shut Russell and Johnson down in the second half.

The duo scored just nine points in the second half.

After being outrebounded in their season opener, TCU outrebounded Louisiana by 11.

“Coach has been stressing that,” Bane said about rebounding. “We did the job tonight, and hopefully, we can continue to do that moving forward.”

First-year guard PJ Fuller poured in 15 points in the win over the Ragin’ Cajuns. Photo by Cristian ArguetaSoto.

First-year P.J. Fuller had a breakout game, filling up the stat sheet with 15 points, six rebounds and four assists. Sophomore R.J. Nembhard added a career-high 16 points.

“He [Nembhard] had to be better, and he is better,” Dixon said. “You can’t be the same guy you were in high school.”

Up next, TCU will face Air Force at home at 8 p.m. Monday.