Too close for comfort: Men’s basketball slips by Air Force behind Samuel’s big night

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Center Kevin Samuel (21) slams home a lob from point guard Francisco Farabello (3). Photo by Cristian ArguetaSoto.

TCU men’s basketball won their first two games of the season by an average of 27 points. On Monday night, the Frogs saw their stiffest competition yet this year against Air Force, slipping by the Falcons 65-54.

The game was the first matchup between the two schools since TCU left the Mountain West after the 2011 season.

Center Kevin Samuel led the way for TCU with his third-straight double-double. The sophomore posted a career-high 19 points to go with 11 rebounds.

After TCU built an 11-point halftime lead, Air Force put together a 17-4 run in the second half to pull within one with 7:45 left in the game.

A 9-0 run spurred by point guard Francisco Farabello would help put the Falcons away though, advancing the Frogs to 3-0.

Point guard Francisco Farabello had a career night scoring against the Falcons. Photo by Cristian ArguetaSoto.

Farabello finished with a career-high 11 points to go with five assists.

The first half was all TCU, with the Frogs opening up an 11-5 lead right out of the gate.

Right before halftime, guard R.J. Nembhard had one of the best sequences of his career, throwing two-straight lobs to Samuel before finishing a tough layup to put TCU up 39-25 with five seconds remaining in the half.

Nembhard finished the game with 15 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals.

A half-court heave at the buzzer by Air Force would cut into TCU’s lead a bit, but the Frogs were still in control.

The Falcons would exploit the Frogs’ defense for most of the second half, getting easy buckets to keep the contest close.

TCU would step up defensively late though, finishing the game on a 13-3 run to seal the victory.

A highlight for the Frogs in the game had been the debut of Ohio State transfer Jaedon LeDee, who was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA earlier today.

LeDee finished with four rebounds, a block and a steal in eight minutes of play.

Up next, the Frogs will finish their four-game homestand to start the season against UC Irvine. Tipoff in Schollmaier Arena is scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m.