Coming off a 3-1 record at the South Padre Invitational, the TCU men's basketball team will take on the Southern Utah Thunderbirds at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum on Thursday.
“They’ve had six days to prepare,” TCU head coach Trent Johnson said. “They’re going to be extremely physical. They’re extremely skilled.”
This will be the start of a two-game homestand for the Frogs before they make a trip to Oklahoma for a game with the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes.
The Frogs have started their first season in the Big 12 with a 5-2 record, which currently puts them at 6th place in the conference. With the exception of last Friday's 31-55 drubbing at the hands of the Northwestern Wildcats, each of TCU's last five games has been won or lost by a margin of five points or less.
“It’s about making shots,” Johnson said. “We’re going to have to have some guys step up on any and every game. Somebody different is going to have to make some shots and make some plays.”
The Thunderbirds, who play in the Big Sky Conference, come into the game with a 1-4 record in their first season under new head coach Nick Robinson, who was an assistant to Johnson at Louisiana State.
Southern Utah is also coming off their first and only win of the season, a 68-58 win over Carroll College. Two of Southern Utah's losses were by over 30 points.
“They’re going to play extremely hard,” Johnson said. “Don’t be blindsided by the scores early on.”
Since the loss of Amric Fields to a torn ACL during the SMU game, the Frogs have gone 3-1. In their last game of that stretch, the Frogs won a 76-73 game against UAB. Sophomore guard Kyan Anderson a career-high 35 points and shot 13-of-20 for the game.
Anderson currently leads the Frogs in scoring (12.0), assists (3.1) and steals (1.7) per game.
TCU's offense as a whole, which has scored 55.3 points per game, is currently ranked last in the Big 12. Their defense, on the other hand, is ranked first, giving up only 52.7 points per game. The Frogs also rank second in the Big 12 in rebounding defense, holding teams to 31.4 rebounds per game.
Two impact seniors lead Southern Utah’s team. The first is forward Jackson Stevenett, whose 16.3 points per game and 5.8 rebounds per game are team highs. His scoring average is also third highest in the Big Sky.
The second of the two seniors is Damon Heuir, a 6'2 guard who leads the team in assists with 2.6 per game.
The Thunderbirds come into the game ranked ninth in the Big Sky conference standings.
The two teams will meet at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum on Thursday. Tip-off for the game is at 7 p.m. and the game will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest.