In the Big 12 conference, winning on the road is already an uphill battle.
Winning on the road against a ranked team is an even tougher challenge, though, and for TCU, it had only happened once in the Jamie Dixon era.
After falling apart in a heartbreaking loss at Oklahoma State on Wednesday, the Frogs dominated No. 15 Iowa State 59-44 in Hilton Coliseum on Saturday for a resounding bounce-back victory.
The only other ranked road win of Dixon’s tenure had also come in Ames, Iowa: a 92-83 win over the then-17th-ranked Cyclones on Feb. 9, 2019.
With superstar Mike Miles still struggling to find offensive rhythm, point guard Damion Baugh had the best game of his basketball career to lead the Frogs.
The Memphis transfer finished with a career- and game-high 23 points and seven steals, which ranks third all-time in TCU history for a single game.
Just 10 days ago, Baugh was the hero for the Frogs, hitting a game-winning three against Kansas State with 13 seconds remaining.
Also stuffing the stat sheet with seven rebounds and five assists, Baugh set a tone defensively that carried to his teammates. TCU held Iowa State to just 3-for-26 from behind the arc and 31% from the floor on the day.
The 44 points scored by the Cyclones were their fewest in history at Hilton Coliseum.
Offense was hard to come by early in the game, as the teams were knotted at just four points apiece five minutes in. A corner three-pointer by forward Emanuel Miller then got the Frogs going offensively, giving them an early 7-4 lead.
That’s when Baugh got going.
In the last 13:38 of the first half, the junior made six of his seven shots for 13 points to keep the Frogs going while Miles was still scoreless. He also had six of his seven steals in the first half alone.
Six late first half points by forward Chuck O’Bannon also gave TCU an offensive push, and the team held a 34-23 lead over Iowa State at the halftime break.
The Frogs quickly upped their lead to 13 to start the second half, but the Cyclones then stormed back within three following a 10-0 run in which four different Iowa State players scored.
Even in front of opposing fans, TCU stayed composed, though, answering with a 10-0 run of its own to retake control.
Miles finally got on the board offensively with eight minutes remaining. He scored five straight for the Frogs over a 2:08 span to keep their lead at double-digits with 5:58 remaining.
Baugh’s 22nd and 23rd points came on a floater with 42 seconds remaining, giving TCU its biggest lead of the afternoon at 18 and putting a bow on its upset victory.
“I’m just excited about this team. I love this team. I love the energy, love the enthusiasm,” head coach Jamie Dixon said. “We need a great crowd on Tuesday.”
O’Bannon finished with 10 points on the day. He has now reached double-digits in nine of the Frogs’ last 11 games and hit a three-pointer in eight-straight contests.
Led by forward Emanuel Miller (8), TCU outrebounded Iowa State 39-28.
After two-straight road games, the Frogs will return home on Tuesday to face No. 23 Texas. Tipoff against the Longhorns is scheduled for 8 p.m. on ESPNU.