Last year, the TCU Horned Frogs men’s basketball team won only nine games out of the 31 that they played.
Tuesday’s game against Furman was the ninth game of the new season. It was also the ninth straight win for the Frogs.
With a 80-69 victory over the Furman Paladins, TCU moved to 9-0 for the first time since 1997-1998, tying that year’s team for the school record for the longest winning streak to open a season.
Kyan Anderson paced the Frogs with his 19th career 20-point outing. He also led the team with six assists on the day.
Even with the much-improved record of success from last year, head coach Trent Johnson isn’t content with the way his squad is playing.
“We were very fortunate to be able to win this basketball game,” Johnson said postgame. “Defensively, we just were not very good.”
Furman had four players in double figures, including Stephen Croone, who led all scorers with 21 points.
Johnson said that his players knew that they could do better.
“There’s a very solemn locker room,” he said. “To a man in there, they know and they believe that they didn’t play well.”
Even though Johnson wasn’t happy with his team’s defensive effort, he praised sixth man Kenrich Williams for his improvement and attitude.
“Kenrich is capable of guarding the one through the four. He’s got a level of toughness and unselfishness that all coaches appreciate,” Johnson said.
The game itself got off too a slow start. Anderson put the first points on the board with a deep three, and after a series of runs from both teams, the Frogs held an 11-8 advantage at the 13:42 mark.
From then on, the game settled into a rhythm in which TCU would stretch the lead out to around ten points before the Paladins would make a slight run.
Amric Fields was big for the Frogs in the first half, scoring nine points in the first fifteen minutes. He also banked in several key free throws down the stretch while Furman was fouling to get the ball back.
TCU led 30-25 at the half, and the margin continued to hover around the 8-10 point range.
Furman turned on the full court press near the end of the second half and cut the lead to seven at the two minute mark.
The Paladins sent TCU to the free throw line in an effort to get the ball back, but the Frogs went 7-8 from the charity stripe in the last three minutes to seal the deal.
The clinching bucket came when Kyan Anderson broke the Furman press with 30 seconds left and found Williams for a thunderous two-handed jam.
TCU moves on to play McNeese State on Saturday at the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.