TCU outscored Cal Poly 33-25 in the second half to erase a one point halftime deficit and secure a 53-46 win, the first under head coach Trent Johnson.
Forward Amric Fields led the Frogs with 16 points. Forward Brian Bennett had 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds for the Mustangs.
Cal Poly outrebounded the Frogs’ 34-31 including 12 offensive rebounds.
“As a group, we’re not satisfied with the way we played,” Johnson said. “We practiced a lot better. We had a lot of breakdowns defensively, but the bottom line is we found a way to win the game.”
TCU hit 36.4 percent of their shots in the first half and held the Mustangs to 33.3 percent. Cal Poly shot 35.2 percent from the floor on the night.
Cal Poly head coach Joe Callero said he was impressed with the Frogs’ defensive positioning. Defense is a “hallmark” of Johnson’s coaching style, he said.
“He’s always going to be in that game because he’s always going to have teams that are positioned well that you’re not going to just run wild over them,”Callero said.
TCU took a 44-40 lead with 3:26 left on a Fields free throw. Guard Chris O’Brien hit a 3-pointer on Cal Poly’s next possession to cut the lead to one. Fields extended the lead to 46-43 with a jumper in the middle of the key.
Cal Poly couldn’t score on its next trip after getting two opportunities. TCU grabbed the second rebound and guard Kyan Anderson hit a three to put the Frogs up 49-43.
Chris Eversley missed a three pointer and Garlon Green grabbed the rebound. After a timeout, U’u Drake fouled Jarvis Ray to stop the clock. Ray missed the front end of a one-and-one giving
Cal Poly the ball back down six with 56 seconds left.
Reese Morgan’s 3-point attempt was tipped by Ray. Anderson was fouled on the rebound and he hit both free throws to put the Frogs up 51-43.
O’Brien hit a three with 21.7 left to make it a five point deficit. Fields hit one free throw to extend the lead to 52-43. O’Brien’s next three hit the back of the rim. Ray was fouled immediately on the rebound. He hit one free throw and the Frogs forced a turnover to end the game.
The Frogs have a lot to work on and it will take time to get better, Green said. Green posted 10 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
Cal Poly head coach Joe Callero said his team “ran out of gas” and was unable to answer what TCU did late in the game.
“This is why we come out here for these kinds of environments and this kind of opportunity in Big 12 country now,” Callero said. “This is gonna help us as we get back to Big West [Conference] and get back to our home court.”
After trailing 21-20 at halftime, TCU took the lead on a layup by forward Adrick McKinney at the 18:46 mark. The Mustangs tied the game at 28, but Anderson broke the tie with a 3-pointer.
Green extended the lead to five on a tip-in off a Ray miss.
The Frogs continued to build on their lead with Ray hitting a jumper and a free throw. Nate Butler Lind hit a pair of free throws to cap the 10-0 run. Cal Poly cut the lead to 38-36 with 7:02 remaining. Forward Zach Gordon scored four straight points to help the Mustangs.
Anderson hit a three to extend the lead, but buckets by Gordon ad Eversley cut the lead back to 41-40. A layup and free throw by Fields gave the Frogs’ a 44-40 lead.
Johnson said the Frogs paid attention to the details even when things got tough during the game.
“The only thing that matters, whether it’s close or a blowout, is playing well and being as good as you can be,” Johnson said.
The men’s first game of the season brought it 4,494 fans to Daniel Meyer Coliseum. The Frogs return to action Monday against Centenary College at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m.