After a close first period, the Horned Frogs came out strong in the second to defeat the USC Trojans 81-69 Monday night to strengthen their record to 5-2 for the first time since the 2004-2005 season.
Head coach Jim Christian said points scored at the beginning of the second period, including a three pointer by senior forward Nikola Gacesa, helped the Horned Frogs stay ahead for the rest of the game.
“It’s important when you play a team like this when you get a little in the lead to take advantage of it,” Christian said.
After earning the 14-point lead, the Horned Frogs stayed ahead for the rest of the game, never allowing the Trojans within eight points of the lead.
Defensively, the Horned Frogs had 29 rebounds, with a total of 40 rebounds for the game. Gacesa was the team leader for rebounds with seven for the game.
It was important for TCU to rebound the ball to stay ahead of a team like the Trojans, which averages seven more rebounds a game than their opponents, Christian said.
Junior guard Ronnie Moss scored a game high of 20 points.
Christian said winning early in the season could set a standard for the rest of the season.
“That is why we play this many games early. This is part of a seven-game stretch with two more this week,” he said. “I think you do that so you can get all the kinks out. The only way to get better at this game is to play. Coming into this year we wanted to become a better team, we wanted to defend our home court and play the way we are capable of playing, and I think we’ve done it.”
Though they are playing well, the team still has a few kinks to work out with a lot of players seeing regular play for the first time, said junior guard Hank Thorns.
“Off the court, we get along great. On the court, we still got a lot to do but we still get along great. We’re still all trying to get used to each other,” he said.
Thorns said some players still need to adjust to his passing.
But freshman forward Amric Fields said he thought they were on the right track.
“We need to keep growing as a team and we will be fine,” Fields said.
The Horned Frogs are now undefeated at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum with a record of 4-0 at home. They will face Prairie View A&M at 7 p.m. Wednesday night.