TCU men’s basketball never scored 80 points in a game a season ago. In fact, the Horned Frogs only scored 70 or more three times under first-year coach Trent Johnson, who is known for defensive-minded teams.But that might change in 2013-14. TCU defeated Arkansas-Fort Smith 81-74 in an exhibition game in front of about 300 in attendance Friday at Daniel-Meyer ColiseumThe Frogs’ newcomers, including Karviar Shepherd, Brandon Parrish and Hudson Price, showed a scoring touch seldom seen a year ago. Jarvis Ray, who missed much of last season because of injury, returned to the starting lineup and led TCU with 18 points on 4-of-7 shooting.Shepherd, Ray and point guard Kyan Anderson each picked up two early fouls and didn’t play much in the first half. That allowed Charles Hill Jr., Parrish and Price to step up and lead the team before halftime. Hill had 13 points, Parrish had 10, and Hudson had nine points and nine rebounds. The scoring balance was encouraging to Shepherd, who led the team with 10 rebounds, including three crucial boards in the final five minutes when the Lions made it close with two 3-pointers.“That means we’ve got great chemistry,” Shepherd said. “We’re family and we feel like everybody can produce, so we’re going to give everybody the ball and they’re going to shoot and we’re going to believe they’re going to make it.”TCU led by as many as 14 with just over 10 minutes remaining, but had to hold off Fort Smith’s rally in the final minutes, caused in part because of TCU’s 0-for-9 streak from the free-throw line. TCU shot just 57.1 percent from the line.Overall, Johnson liked the poise his young team showed, especially when the Lions pulled to within 75-72 with 1:22 left.“I look at where they’re at, and I compare it to some of the freshmen I’ve had over the years. They’re going to be fine,” Johnson said.Ray hit two free throws, and Anderson slashed the lane for a reverse layup and fed Ray for a dunk in the final minute to defuse Fort Smith’s rally.TCU opens the season against SMU at 6:30 p.m. Friday at American Airlines Center.Player updatesForward Amric Fields’ progress coming back from last season’s knee injury is still a wait-and-see situation, Trent Johnson said. Fields did not play Friday. UTEP transfer Chris Washburn has still not heard whether the NCAA will grant him a waiver so that he can play this season. TCU hopes to hear before Friday’s season opener.
Stefan Stevenson 817-390-7760 Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs