One player liked to shoot from long range, while the other enjoyed something from inside the arc.Though the methods of Brent Hackett and Kevin Langford to conjure up offense were different, both were needed as the men’s basketball team fended off a late comeback attempt by Arkansas-Pine Bluff during Saturday’s 75-61 win at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
The win catapults the Horned Frogs to a 3-0 start for the second straight season and for the third time in Neil Dougherty’s tenure as head coach.
Despite struggling with foul trouble that would limit him to just 16 minutes of playing time, Hackett would finish with 18 points on the day, shooting 5 for 10 from the 3-point line.
Helping out Hackett was another Fort Worth native in Langford. The junior would have arguably his best game of the season, going for 16 points and eight rebounds in 31 minutes, including an 8-for-8 performance from the free-throw line.
The Horned Frogs seemingly had control of the game in the second half, leading by as many as 26 points at one point. TCU was hitting on all cylinders and capitalized on Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s mistakes, going for 24 points off 23 Golden Lion turnovers.
But the tide would turn.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff would reverse its fortunes midway through the second half, going on a 17-3 run that would bring the Golden Lions to within 12 points.
When Hackett picked up his fourth foul with about four minutes to go in the game, the Golden Lions would pull within 11 points. That was as close as Arkansas-Pine Bluff would get as the Horned Frogs would make up for Hackett’s foul trouble and weather the comeback attempt.
Dougherty said though he was not worried about the outcome of Saturday’s game, he would take blame for the game getting as close as it was.
“That’s my fault,” Dougherty said.
Hackett said Langford and he wanted to come out and have a good game following sub-par performances in Tuesday’s win against Rice.
“We just got to put pressure on ourselves to come out and have a good game,” he said.
Langford agreed, saying the duo was not happy following their performances in the previous game.
After coming out for the second half with a 43-32 lead, the team would go on a 17-2 run, highlighted by Hackett’s touch from beyond the arc.
Soon after picking up his third foul less than a minute into the second half, Hackett would catch fire from beyond the arc. The senior guard would stroke three consecutive 3-point buckets and single-handedly went on a 9-0 run to give TCU a 22-point lead.
In the first half, four Horned Frogs – Hackett, Langford, junior guard Henry Salter and junior forward John Ortiz – would match Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s first-half total. Salter and Ortiz would finish with 11 and nine points, respectively.
Dougherty said the team’s offense, which is averaging 80 points a game through the first three games, is coming along and that there is still room to grow.
“I’m trying to learn an awful lot still about this group still,” he said.