This wasn’t a pleasing start to the basketball season for TCU, and Trent Johnson made that clear afterward.
The Frogs got off to a sluggish start, lost the rebounding battle, gave up second-chance points and had more turnovers than assists in their 69-61 loss to SMU on Friday at the American Airlines Center as part of the tripleheader for the Buckets and Boots Showcase.
There were positives and things TCU will take away from the game, such as responding to the slow start and impressive debuts by freshmen Karviar Shepherd and Brandon Parrish. But the start of the season isn’t time for moral victories.
“We got beat,” Johnson said. “We’re not in this for any one individual to play well. This isn’t about one individual. The bottom line is we lost the basketball game.”
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At the beginning, it appeared that TCU might not even be able to stay with SMU. The Mustangs, a much-improved team in Larry Brown’s second season, took an early 21-8 lead in the opening eight minutes.
But TCU responded by draining three consecutive 3-pointers at one point, and closed on a 10-2 run to head into the locker room down only 30-29 at the break.
TCU then came out strong in the second half. Parrish knocked down a 3 on the opening possession to give the Frogs their first lead 32-30, and they extended it to 36-30.
That momentum didn’t last long, though. TCU went into a scoring drought that lasted almost five minutes, and SMU took advantage with a 16-2 run and had a 52-43 lead with less than 10 minutes left.
Once again, the Frogs got within striking distance and made it a one-possession game twice in the final five minutes. SMU responded by scoring a bucket the first time, but then TCU cut the lead to 60-57 with 3:40 left.
The Frogs got the ball with a chance to tie after a missed layup by the Mustangs, but wound up turning it over.
SMU then pulled away by going on a 7-0 run and made its free throws down the stretch for the eight-point victory.
“We had a lot of opportunities to take away the game,” said senior guard Jarvis Ray, who had nine points and five rebounds. “If we stay together and keep our heads up and knock down shots like we’ve been doing in practice, we’ll be fine.”
The Frogs finished the game shooting 35.4 percent from the field. They were outrebounded 39-34, lost the points in the paint 30-10, and gave up 19 second-chance points.
Parrish was the only TCU player to finish in double figures with 13 points.
But Brown wasn’t gloating about his team’s victory. He felt the Mustangs could have played better, too, and had nothing but praise for Johnson and the Frogs.
“They’re going to be good,” Brown said. “Their young kids are good.”
Freshman guard Hudson Price started for the Frogs, but left the game early in the second half with an apparent Achilles injury. Johnson said afterward that Price’s status is unknown, but the team will know more Saturday.
Baylor wins opener
Baylor showed its potential last season by winning the NIT championship, and has most of that team back with hopes of being in contention for the national championship this year.
The Bears took their first step in that direction with a 72-60 victory over Colorado in the final game of Friday’s tripleheader at the AAC.
Kenny Chery led the Bears with 14 points, although the most crucial shots came from guard Brady Heslip. The senior sharpshooter knocked down three 3-pointers in the second half to keep the Bears in a comfortable lead.
OU finishes strong
Oklahoma trailed by as many as 16 in the first half and held a one-point lead with six minutes left, but pulled away at the end for an 82-73 victory over Alabama in the first game of the tripleheader.