The TCU men’s basketball team doubled its conference win total from last season by defeating Air Force at home Wednesday night. However, with a road test fast approaching Saturday against New Mexico, the Frogs are determined to continue their winning streak after pulling out two games at home.
The Horned Frogs, who now boast a 12-7 record, have an identical conference record to the Lobos. With both teams residing at 2-2, the game is an important one for both squads.
TCU’s consecutive wins in conference play marks the first time in three seasons the program has accomplished such a feat.
Senior guards Hank Thorns and J.R. Cadot led the way for the Horned Frogs, with Thorns notching a game-high 22 points with five treys and Cadot producing a stat line of 13 points to go along with seven rebounds, three assists, three blocked shots and two steals.
“[Cadot] was due for a good game. He had a good practice yesterday,” head coach Jim Christian said. “He was more aggressive offensively and he was ready to play today. He had steals and blocks that were big.”
TCU also improved to 9-1 in games decided by six points or fewer, the only loss coming in double overtime to Colorado State.
One of the most prevalent reasons for this ability to close out games is the Frogs’ ability to play intense defense when it is most necessary. Similarly to TCU’s comeback win over Boise State on Saturday, TCU played withering defense when it mattered the most.
Wednesday, the Falcons did not score in the final 4:05 of the game, allowing the Frogs to cling to their victory. Thorns was quick to credit the defense with the team’s close wins.
“Defense is the key in every game. They had a chance to tie the game up at the end, but we had a great stop,” Thorns said. “That took great defense and communication. Once we have our offense rolling, we know we aren’t going to have problems scoring. We need to focus on stopping the other team from scoring.”
Although TCU and New Mexico come into the contest with similar records, New Mexico boasts a more impressive conference pedigree. CSU, which beat TCU in double overtime, lost to New Mexico by a score of 85-52. Their two conference losses came against top of the Mountain West Conference teams, San Diego State and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
The Lobos are led by sophomore guard Tony Snell and senior forward Drew Gordan, both of whom average just under 13 points a game.
Aside from their two conference losses, the Lobos have only lost two other games all season. They dropped early matches against in-state rival New Mexico State and also again Santa Clara, both very close games.
Although the two teams have put up similar numbers and have similar conference records, New Mexico is sure to be the favorite going into Saturday’s matchup. The Lobos will have home court advantage and the Frogs have yet to win a conference game on the road.
For the Horned Frogs to have a chance at winning, Thorns will have to continue his quality offensive performance and the defense will have to come up big once more.
The game will take place on Saturday at The Pit in Albuquerque, N.M. Tip-off for the contest is scheduled for 5 p.m. local time.
TCU at University of New Mexico
When: Jan. 28, 2012
Location: Albuquerque, N.M.
Time: 5:00 p.m. CT
TV: The Mtn.
Radio: 88.7 FM (KTCU) & 1460 AM (KCLE)
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