Strong second-half sparks win, readies team for Rice matchup

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    On the heels of an opening-night victory, the men’s basketball team will make minor adjustments heading into tonight’s game, the head coach said.Head coach Neil Dougherty said one of the team’s main concerns following an 89-70 win Saturday against the Angelo State Rams is putting up a stronger defense and getting shorter guards to put more pressure on taller opponents.

    Fans can see whether those concerns have been addressed tonight when the Horned Frogs welcome the Rice Owls to Daniel-Meyer Coliseum at 7 p.m.

    Dougherty said some of his shorter players were struggling to keep Angelo State from shooting over their heads in Saturday’s game.

    Right now, he said, his players are turning their focus inward.

    “We’ll be working on everything TCU needs to do better,” Dougherty said. “Work with zones, press offense – a lot of things that still need a lot of tinkering.”

    He said at this point, he wants his players to think about how they can better themselves. The team will observe how Rice plays, “but the biggest focus will be on us,” Dougherty said.

    Tonight’s matchup will be Rice’s season opener. The Owls won a 76-63 exhibition game against the University of the Incarnate Word on Wednesday.

    At the beginning of Saturday’s game, the Rams led TCU by seven points and led the Horned Frogs throughout the first half.

    Dougherty said his players weren’t scoring and were having foul trouble at first, but once the team settled down, they were able to focus and play better.

    Senior guard Brent Hackett led the team in scoring with 19 points.

    “I felt the whole time that it was our game,” Hackett said, “and I felt like we just needed to settle down.”

    After halftime, the Horned Frogs got into a groove and stretched their lead to eight points and eventually, got the lead up to 21 points against the Rams.

    The Horned Frogs’ defense went into overdrive with 30 out of 52 defensive rebounds in the second half.

    Senior forward Parker started the second half strong with eight consecutive points and finished the game with 18 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.

    “In the first half, we should have attacked the offensive glass much more,” Parker said. “Coming out of the second half, that was our main focus … getting the ball inside.”

    The team’s shooting from the field also increased after halftime from 38.7 percent to 50 percent. Salter scored all of his 13 points in the second half.

    “This is how I’ve always wanted to play, but we never had the opportunity to play this way,” Dougherty said. “We never had the depth; we never had the health.