TCU’s Amric Fields was just happy to be on the court. His home court.
To start Sunday and play a crucial role in the Horned Frogs pulling away from Texas Southern 77-64 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum was just icing on the cake.
It had been more than a year since Fields played at home, and his return to the lineup was an emotional boost for TCU with Big 12 play beginning Saturday.
Fields recorded his first career double-double with 17 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
“It feels good. I’ve got to give credit to these guys,” Fields said, pointing to his teammate Brandon Parrish, who had 13 points and was 3 of 4 from the 3-point arc. “These guys always hold me to a high standard and every time I play they always build my confidence up.”
Fields hadn’t played since breaking his left, non-shooting hand Nov. 30. That was his fourth game back since a knee injury in the third game a year ago sidelined him for the entire season.
His 29 minutes Sunday is the most he’s played since last year’s season opener. He had to take himself out of the game a couple times.
“I’m pretty out of shape,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of conditioning to do.”
Fields has to monitor how much impact he puts on his knee, so he’s unable to run by himself to speed up the conditioning issue.
“So I really have to play my way into shape,” he said.
Coach Trent Johnson said his main concern with Fields is making sure he doesn’t overextend himself while working back into shape.
“The key for me with Amric, whether he starts or comes off the bench, is that he doesn’t try to do too much,” Johnson said. “We’ll monitor his minutes, we’ll monitor his conditioning.”
Fields’ return will allow Parrish to play a more familiar outside position and allow Jarvis Ray to return to more of a small forward role. Fields’ returning before Big 12 play gave his teammates a chance to get used to their proper roles.
“For the first time we were able to play a lot of guys,” Johnson said. “We had a healthy team out there for the most part.”
TCU (9-3) has won five consecutive games and eight of its past nine.
All but a blowout loss to Harvard has been close, including a relatively tight game against the Tigers.
Although the Frogs led the final 28 minutes, Texas Southern (4-8) cut the lead to four with 7:35 remaining.
A 15-4 run led by Kyan Anderson, who led TCU with 21 points (his third consecutive game with 20 or more points), helped the Frogs pull away. Anderson also had a season-high seven assists.
Fields played aggressively, finished a couple dunks and fought for rebounds with no noticeable signs of apprehension.
“I try to play like it never happened,” Fields said of both injuries. “That’s the only way, I think, that you can get over it. Because if you play thinking I can’t make this move or make that move, then you’re going to to end up hurting something else.”