In a game without much offense, the Horned Frogs prevailed over the Houston Cougars 58-51 Wednesday night thanks to timely shooting and critical defensive stops at opportune times.TCU has now won three games in a row over the Cougars and two straight at home in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. Head coach Neil Dougherty has helped guide the Frogs to 13 wins total and a 3-1 record in C-USA play for the first time since TCU joined the conference in 2001.
Senior guard Corey Santee did not start the game because he was suffering from strep throat. Freshman guard Brent Reese-Hackett started in his spot. Santee subbed in the game about midway through the first half, and he made an immediate impact on the Frogs’ offense and defense. Until Wednesday night, the senior had started 78 consecutive games.
There were six lead changes and two ties between the Frogs and the Cougars in the fourth game of Conference USA action of the season for both teams.
“That game is probably just about us gutting it out because we did not know if we would have Santee at all,” Dougherty said. “This game at this point of this season is huge after winning such a big game on the road.”
Shooting was not a strong point for either team, TCU shot 40 percent and Houston shot 32.3 percent on the night.
Senior Marcus Shropshire led the Frogs in scoring with 14 points in 19 minutes of action. Sophomore forward Femi Ibikunle added a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds, but senior guard Marcus Shropshire chipped in ten points with the most field goals made among any of the other Frogs on the team with five.
The Frogs were trailing 18-8 a little more than 11 minutes into the game, but then Shropshire hit a three-pointer at the 8:11 to make the score 18-11. At the four-minute mark, Shropshire knocked down another 3-point bucket to tie the score at 18.
At halftime Houston held a slim 25-22 lead while connecting on 5 of 16 3-pointers and Lanny Smith knocked down 3 of 4 from behind the arc.
Houston head coach Tom Penders said Lanny Smith had a fine game, but other Houston players could not capitalize on valuable offensive opportunities.
TCU owned the second half, outscoring Houston by 10 points and the Frogs gained their biggest lead, 12 points, at the 8:11 mark on a free throw by freshman guard Neiman Owens. The Cougars looked cut the Frogs’ lead to five points with 1:02 left in the game. The Frogs closed out the game by hitting two more free throws to seal the win.
Santee said that everyone on the team wanted the win, and they worked hard to come out on top at the end.