After suffering through a six-game losing streak, the Horned Frogs broke the slump in a big way Saturday night, beating the Colorado Sate Rams 85-72.TCU shot 42 percent from the field to earn their first in-conference win of the season, and despite a familiar offensive slump midway through the second period, the Frogs never relinquished the lead they took with just over six minutes to go in the first half.
Head coach Neil Dougherty said the intensity his players showed in recent practices proved the team was ready to snap the slide.
“The practice we had a few days ago indicated something like this was coming,” Dougherty said. “That was a grinding, grueling, nasty practice, but they lost themselves in it. That’s what they did tonight; they lost themselves in the game.”
Not only did the Frogs reach 85 points — their highest point total of the season – but they did it without senior guard Nile Murry, who sat out the majority of the first half with two fouls.
“It was very tough,” Murry said. “But we stayed poised and we stayed confident.”
Perhaps more surprising than the Frogs high point total was their tough interior defense, something TCU’s small frontcourt had been recently lacking. The Rams’ two 7-footers, center Stuart Creason and forward Jason Smith, combined for just 22 points and 11 rebounds.
TCU forwards Judson Stubbs and Chudi Chinweze, both 6 foot 7 inches tall, frustrated CSU’s big men all night long. By using their speed and quickness, Dougherty said, the two were able to keep the Rams’ post play in check.
“We just constantly move and make the 7-footers chase us,” Dougherty said. “On the other side of the floor, we just wanted to sit in their lap.”
While the Frogs have consistently forced high numbers of turnovers this season, they finally found a way to Saturday to convert those extra opportunities into points.
“If we’re not a shooting team, we need to find ways to get more shots,” Dougherty said. “You have to cut down on your turnovers, and force more of theirs.”
Chinweze said the team is already focusing on their next game, a Jan. 25 contest at BYU.
“We know what it takes to win now,” Chinweze said. “We’ve got momentum building now.