The struggling Horned Frog basketball team will welcome another squad that has fallen on tough times, the Utah Utes, to Daniel-Meyer Coliseum tonight. Both teams have lost four of their past five games with a win over Air Force, the common denominator for both.
TCU (11-13, 3-6) topped the Falcons 65-51 Saturday in Colorado Springs behind junior guard Greg Hill’s career-high 23 points. Prior to the victory, the Frogs had not won a game since they beat UT Pan-American on Jan. 20.
Sophomore guard Ronnie Moss leads the Horned Frogs in minutes, assists and points per game. He is fourth in the Mountain West Conference in scoring at 14.5 a game and first in the nation at 6.5 assists per contest.
Frogs head coach Jim Christian said Moss is coming off his best game as a college player.
“He made great decisions with the basketball,” Christian said. “I thought every time he had the ball, he made the right play, and that’s the lesson I want him to learn.”
Hill, who benefited from Moss’ play, echoed his coach.
“(Moss) has the ability to play like that everyday. Even though he’s not a true point guard, he’s a scoring point guard,” Hill said. “He will find a way to get a man open and make plays.”
Utah (10-12, 3-5), coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance a season ago, has struggled this season after three players who averaged 29-plus minutes per game graduated. Luke Nevill, Shaun Green and Tyler Kepkay combined to average 37.5 points per game for the Utes during a 2008-09 season that ended with a first round tournament loss to Arizona.
Junior guard Carlon Brown averages 13.4 points per game to lead Utah and ranks sixth in the conference. Brown and senior guard Luka Drca both earned honorable mention all-conference last season.
Christian said 7’3″ sophomore center David Foster could be a difference maker as well for the Utes.
“He takes away the front of the basket and that’s a huge thing. That’s what makes them a good defensive team,” Christian said. “They force you to make 15 to 17 foot jumpshots and when we’ve played well against Utah we’ve made them and when we haven’t we have (not made them).”
The game will be a homecoming for one Utah freshman who played high school basketball at L.D. Bell in Hurst. Marshall Henderson is the state’s all-time leader in making three-pointers for class 5A high schools with 429.
The first time Utah and TCU met this season, the Utes topped the Frogs 65-45 in Salt Lake City. At the time, it was the 10th consecutive conference home win for the Utes, a streak that has since ended.
For the Horned Frogs, freshman guard Xavier Roberson will miss the game with a foot injury and is listed as day-to-day.
The winner of the game will be in strong position to avoid the play-in game of the Mountain West Conference tournament. The loser could fall into a tie with Wyoming for eighth place in the conference if the Cowboys beat San Diego State on Wednesday.
Moss said the Horned Frogs are not worried about seeding in the conference tournament.
“We’re trying to go on a four game winning streak right now,” Moss said. “This game right here is just the next step, but it’s the next big step for us.”
TCU v. Utah
When: 7 p.m. tonight
Where: Daniel-Meyer Coliseum
The game can be followed on The Mtn. and ESPN Radio 103.3 FM.