TCU head coach Trent Johnson saw the 67-54 loss to Kansas State on Wednesday as a learning opportunity for the team.
“We as coaches are talking about working on their skills and understanding roles,” Johnson said. “You can learn from a game like this. That’s just being very candid and very honest.”
The Frogs were down by as many as 25 points in the second half before cutting the final deficit to 13. Kansas State had 20 points off turnovers compared to six for TCU. The Wildcats also outscored the Frogs 34-26 in the paint.
“That [Kansas State] team reminds me of all my good teams I had,” Johnson said. “That’s how the game is supposed to be played.”
Johnson has turned around struggling programs before. During his first season at the University of Nevada, the Wolf Pack went 9-20. In each of the next five seasons, Nevada increased its winning percentage from around 30 percent to 64 percent.
The Wolf Pack made it to the National Invitation Tournament in Johnson’s fourth season followed by a Sweet Sixteen appearance in Johnson’s final year. He then took Stanford and LSU to the NCAA Tournament in his first season at each stop.
Eventually, the Frogs will get the talent they need to be successful, Johnson said.
But he wouldn’t put a timeline on the process.
The next step in the process will bring a high-scoring Iowa State team to Daniel-Meyer Coliseum Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
Iowa State improved to 12-4, 2-1 with a 69-67 victory over West Virginia on Wednesday. Georges Niang hit the game-winning bucket with two seconds left after West Virginia erased an 18-point deficit.
Five players, including three seniors, average double digit scoring for the Cyclones. Iowa State leads the Big 12 in scoring (81.6) and 3-pointers made per game (9.4). Junior Melvin Ejim also has a conference-high 9.6 rebounds per game.
“They’re real explosive, really skilled, but older and mature,” Johnson said.
The Cyclones have seven returning letterwinners on a squad that advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament last year where they lost to the eventual national champion, Kentucky.
Iowa State’s lone conference loss was a 97-89 overtime loss to No. 6 Kansas in Lawrence, Kan.
The Frogs hold a 5-1 series edge over the Cyclones, but this will be the first meeting as conference opponents.