TCU got its first real taste of Division I competition Saturday against South Dakota State and with it the bitter flavor of a mental meltdown.
The Frogs were late arriving figuratively in falling way behind, but once there, they provided the Jackrabbits with unneeded assists in what turned out to be TCU’s first loss of the season.
TCU rallied from 22 points down and got to within six with 7:55 left, but committed five turnovers at crucial moments down the stretch in a 76-67 loss to the Jackrabbits at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center.
As a team, the Frogs didn’t take good care of the basketball, committing 19 turnovers, and they didn’t defend well early in falling to 2-1.
... We were our own worst enemy.
TCU coach Trent Johnson
“We didn’t do a very good job initially,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. “It’s one thing to talk about it and practice it, but you can’t simulate a team like this that can stretch you at all five spots.
“When we decided to start competing with a better intensity, we made a game of it, but we were our own worst enemy.”
Malique Trent led TCU with 18 points, including 15 in the second half. Brandon Parrish had 17, and Devonta Abron, the team’s lone senior, added eight points and 12 rebounds, including six on the offensive end.
The game with the Jackrabbits was part of stateside portion of the Cancun Challenge. TCU heads to Cancun for the last part of the event, playing Tuesday against Rhode Island and Wednesday against Maryland or Illinois State.
We were plenty good enough if kids really, really buy in. That’s the thing with four new guys … really to get an understanding of what this is like.
Forward Chris Washburn (broken finger) remained out of a lineup that is already without Kenrich Williams (knee) for the season.
“We were plenty good enough if kids really, really buy in,” Johnson said. “That’s the thing with four new guys … really to get an understanding of what this is like.”
“This” being competitive Division I basketball.
The Jackrabbits (4-0), a bubble NCAA Tournament team a year ago that advanced into the second round of the NIT, represented the first real taste of Division I competition. And they won’t be the last.
South Dakota State opened the game shooting 2 for 8 but heated up, hitting 52 percent of its next 27 shots. The Jackrabbits took their first lead at 13:05 mark of the first half and never relinquished it, growing its advantage to as many as 22 with a 12-1 run to start the second half.
“For that team to go up 20 points on us is not acceptable,” Parrish said. “To a man, we’re better defenders than we showed today.”
The Frogs woke up, however, going on a 17-1 run over the next six-plus minutes.
Two ill-advised passes later — one by Karviar Shepherd, who tried to advance a loose ball with a wayward cross-court pass that flew out of bounds — and TCU was back down 11.
We showed we had some fight. The last 13 minutes we showed we were a good team, but we have to do it from the jump.
TCU guard Brandon Parrish
The Frogs weren’t done yet, however.
Parrish followed a layin with a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 63-60. He then followed with an uncharacteristic turnover, losing the ball on the baseline. That was as close as TCU would get.
“We showed we had some fight,” Parrish said. “The last 13 minutes we showed we were a good team, but we have to do it from the jump.”
Deondre Parks, who scored a game-high 21 points (though he was held to no field goals in the second half), hit six free throws in the last 2:50 for South Dakota State.
“Say we won by two, would I feel the same as I feel now?” a frustrated Johnson said. “No question because sooner or later it’s going to bite you.”
S. DAKOTA ST. (4-0) — Parks 5-12 10-11 21, Bittle 2-5 2-3 6, Marshall 4-10 1-2 12, Tellinghuisen 4-12 1-2 11, Theisen 1-2 2-2 5, King 0-2 0-0 0, Moffitt 2-3 0-0 4, Daum 5-8 7-8 17, Severyn 0-1 0-0 0, Devine 0-0 0-0 0, Dykman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-55 23-28 76.
TCU (2-1) — Collins 2-6 1-2 6, Trent 6-23 3-5 18, Brodziansky 4-8 3-4 11, Parrish 5-10 4-5 17, Shepherd 2-11 1-2 5, M. Williams 1-4 0-1 2, Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Dry 0-0 0-0 0, Abron 2-4 4-5 8. Totals 22-66 16-24 67.
Halftime—S. Dakota St. 43-32. 3-Point Goals—S. Dakota St. 7-20 (Marshall 3-6, Tellinghuisen 2-7, Theisen 1-1, Parks 1-4, Bittle 0-1, Severyn 0-1), TCU 7-27 (Parrish 3-4, Trent 3-15, Collins 1-2, M. Williams 0-1, Shepherd 0-1, Brodziansky 0-4). Fouled Out—Bittle, Theisen. Rebounds—S. Dakota St. 44 (Daum 8), TCU 42 (Abron 12). Assists—S. Dakota St. 11 (Marshall 4), TCU 12 (Collins, Trent 3). Total Fouls—S. Dakota St. 21, TCU 22. A—4,193.