It’s no shock that TCU and Texas Tech enter Saturday’s rematch sitting at the bottom of the Big 12 standings.
But it is a bit surprising that the Red Raiders haven’t won a few more games, at least after their game against the Horned Frogs in the league opener Jan. 5. Tech led almost the entire game and built a lead as big as 16 points midway through the second half to win convincingly, despite the 62-53 final score.
The Red Raiders (9-17, 2-13 Big 12), playing for interim coach Chris Walker, lost their next four games by 14 points or more before beating Iowa State 56-51 on Feb. 6 in Lubbock. But that’s it. Tech has lost nine consecutive games since the win, despite playing Kansas State close at home and nearly beating West Virginia on the road before succumbing 66-64 in the final minute.
“I’m surprised they’ve only won two league games because as we saw a long, long time ago, they’re talented,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. “They backed us off at home as much as anybody.”
Part of Tech’s struggles have been on the defensive end. The Red Raiders are last in the league, allowing 72.4 points a game. TCU, which led the league for much of the season, has slipped to fourth, allowing 61.2 points a game, less than two point more than leader Kansas State.
An oddity, however, is that Tech is leading the league with 8.35 steals a game, led by freshman Josh Gray’s 2.08 a game, which trails only Marcus Smart’s league-leading 2.89 a game.
TCU (10-18, 1-14) has lost six straight since upsetting Kansas on Feb. 6. Johnson would like to see more penetration from his perimeter players Saturday . In the Frogs’ loss Wednesday to Oklahoma State, not one TCU guard took a foul.
Point guard Kyan Anderson, from North Crowley High School, was hitting from outside (6-of-12 shooting) and did an admirable job of running the offense. Fort Worth Trimble Tech guard Charles Hill Jr. drove the lane three times but only had one first-half layup.
TCU senior Garlon Green is likely to become the Horned Frogs’ all-time leader in games played Saturday, with his 126th game. Green has started all 28 games this season and has 80 starts in his career. He tied Femi Ibikule’s school record set from 2003-04 and 2006-07 on Wednesday. Green has appeared in the Frogs’ last 106 games.