The TCU men’s basketball team forced 19 first half turnovers and held off a Florida Gulf Coast second-half rally to beat the Eagles 73-72 Friday night at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. The Frogs have now won four straight season openers under head coach Jim Christian.
Florida Gulf Coast shot 61 percent for the game and they trailed by just two with 10 seconds left when TCU point guard, Hank Thorns, knifed through the Eagles zone to push the TCU lead to two.
A 30-plus foot three pointer fell for Florida Gulf Coast with 4 seconds left, but TCU would hold on for the one point win. FGCU was coached by first year coach, Andy Enfield, who credited TCU’s press for forcing his team into 29 turnovers.
“When they pressured us, we did not execute like we needed to,” Enfield said after a loss in his first game as Florida Gulf Coast head coach.
TCU head coach Jim Christian was not happy with his team’s killer mentality after the game.
“We took our foot off the gas and gave up layups, turned it over too much, and then there were stretches where we looked really good, and then we took our foot off the gas again,” Christian said.
The Frogs were led in scoring by senior guard J.R. Cadot who had 16 and was followed by three other Frogs in double figures.
Preseason all-conference selection Hank Thorns spoke about his coach’s message after the game.
“Just get better. When we are up 16, put a team away. It should hurt when people score, and it should not have been that easy for them,” Thorns said.
Thorns said that his team showed how they can play defense by forcing the 19 first half turnovers, but the Frogs learned a valuable lesson by letting a less-talented team stick around.
“You learn a lot about yourself. You learn a lot about the team and what we have to get better at,” Thorns said. “Now we just have to be killers and have that killer instinct. Like I said, when we are up 16, it is time to put the game away.”
The attendance was 4,158 tonight at Daniel Meyer Coliseum, and there was an obvious jump in student attendance after the athletics marketing department announced the creation of a new student rewards program for basketball games.
The Frogs played ten players tonight with all ten scoring. Jim Christian has praised his team’s depth and expects them to get better and better as the season goes on.
TCU will return to action Monday night against Austin College at 8 PM at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.