They say “Adversity builds character,” and TCU basketball found their first test of adversity during the SoCal challenge over the week of Thanksgiving.
Entering the tournament undefeated at 3-0, the Frogs dropped their first game of the season in their opening matchup with Santa Clara on Monday night, giving up 69% shooting from behind-the-arc to the Broncos.
Two days later, TCU bounced back with a win over Pepperdine to split the tournament games and record head coach Jamie Dixon’s 100th win at the helm in Fort Worth.
Here’s a quick look at how the games went for the Frogs:
Game 1: Santa Clara
It’s rare that a team shoots better from three-point range than they do from the floor, but Santa Clara could not miss from deep on Monday night, handing TCU an 85-66 loss to give them their first defeat of the season.
Though the Frogs were able to hit a reasonable 41% of their shots, the Broncos shot the lights out, shooting 61% from the floor and an even more impressive 69% (11-for-16) from behind the arc.
After TCU took a 1-0 lead to start the game, Santa Clara snatched the lead and never looked back. The Frogs showed fight at times in the first half, pulling within four at one point, but they never retook the lead.
The Broncos led 43-29 at the half, but they were not satisfied with even that cushion. Less than five minutes into the second half, the Frogs trailed by 28 after giving up 24 unanswered points, dating back to the first half.
Thanks to a scoring surge by Vanderbilt-transfer Maxwell Evans, TCU was able to go on a 12-0 run at one point, but it was little to offset the nine threes Santa Clara made in the second half alone.
Evans finished with a season-high 15 points, making three of his four three-point attempts. Guard Mike Miles added 10 points and a career-high seven assists, but his 4-for-15 shooting prevented him from being much of a threat.
For the Broncos, guard Jalen Williams led the game with 22 points. Guard PJ Pipes was right behind with 17 points of his own, 15 of which had come on his five-made threes.
TCU was out-rebounded 39-24 in the game.
Game 2: Pepperdine
Despite shooting just 17% from three, TCU out-rebounded Pepperdine 38-22 to bully their way to a bounce-back 73-64 win over the Waves on Wednesday night.
The win moves Dixon to 100-72 in his time as TCU’s head coach, making him the third-fastest coach in school history to reach the 100-win mark.
Forward Emanuel Miller was a force for the Frogs with a season-high 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, recording his third double double of the season. He now leads the Big 12 with 8.6 rebounds per game.
It appeared that shooting woes from game one plagued TCU at the start of this one, as they went down by nine midway through the first half. A 21-7 run to end the half, though, would then put them up by five at the halftime break.
After the Frogs controlled for nearly the entire second half, the Waves would pull as close as three at one point, but TCU was able to produce enough offensively to maintain a lead until the buzzer sounded and earn a victory.
Forward Chuck O’Bannon scored a season-high 12 points in the win, hitting two of the Frogs’ three total three-pointers. Miles added a team-high 16 points and was named to the All-Tournament team after averaging 13 points, five assists, and five rebounds in the two games.
Another positive note in the game for TCU had been the return of guard Damion Baugh, who injured his ankle in the season opener. He finished with eight points, three rebounds and three assists in 20 minutes of play.
Up next, TCU will return home to Schollmaier Arena on Monday night to face Austin Peay. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.