Funny what one win can do.
For TCU on Saturday at Schollmaier Arena, a 75-63 victory against Tennessee in the Big 12/SEC Challenge broke a five-game losing streak and brought new life spirit to a team whose season was losing life.
“A game like this gives us an opportunity to bounce back, boost our confidence,” junior guard Brandon Parrish said after the Horned Frogs rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit, outscoring the Volunteers 48-22. “Sometimes you have people questioning your confidence, sometimes we question our confidence. A game like this gets the team morale back up. I think it’s going to help us out a lot.”
Shooting 62.5 percent in the second half helps as much as anything. The Horned Frogs made 15 of 24 shots after halftime, contributing to a pair of 10-0 runs that made up a 41-27 deficit.
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Today goes to show we can play with anybody. The second half, that just shows, if we’re ever doubting ourselves, we have this game to think back on.
TCU guard Brandon Parrish
Malique Trent scored five points to begin a 10-0 run that started the second half. His free throws with 7:59 left started another 10-0 run that resulted in a 66-54 lead on Chris Washburn’s tip-in.
Trent scored 14 of his 15 points after halftime, and Parrish had 11 of his 14 after halftime to power the comeback.
“To close this one, being down by 14 going into the second half does a lot for us,” said Washburn, who had three steals in the second half that led to a pair of layups and finally, with 55 seconds left, Trent’s showstopping dunk to seal the game. “Just everything. The wins means a lot overall.”
TCU (10-11) committed only four turnovers after halftime. And Tennessee (10-11) went 0 for 15 on 3-pointers in the second half.
TCU improved to 3-0 in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, with previous victories against Ole Miss and Mississippi State, and is now 2-0 all time against Tennessee.
“At halftime, I told them, ‘Hey, look. We’ve been here before,’ ” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. “We need to be aggressive. Everybody needs to do their job, play within the confines of what we practice defensively and offensively.
“And I thought the second half we got great energy, did a great job of pushing them off the 3-point line, making them bounce it.”
Washburn also had 14 points, plus nine rebounds, and Karviar Shepherd had 13 points coming off the bench for a second consecutive game.
Kevin Punter had 24 points for Tennessee, and Johnson joked that it might have been 30 or 40 had TCU not played better defense in the second half.
It was nice to see the guys shoot the ball with confidence and the ball go down for them. It’s a good win for us. Any win’s a good win for us.
TCU coach Trent Johnson
“We showed some courage, and we kept our poise,” Johnson said. “We had every opportunity to fold our tents. But the guys kept fighting a little bit, and we made some plays, made some shots. It was nice to see the guys shoot the ball with confidence and the ball go down for them.
“It’s a good win for us. Any win’s a good win for us.”
TCU is 3-0 in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, with previous victories against Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
“It’s easier said than done vs. a good team and good players,” Johnson said. “But to be in this situation at home with a good crowd, I thought it was just nice to see the guys respond in the second half and make some good basketball plays.”
After a 3-pointer to close the first half, Tennessee was 0 for 15 on 3-point shots in the second half.
Now the Frogs return to Big 12 play for games against the league’s top two teams, Oklahoma and Kansas, the coming week. But they go into it with renewed confidence.
“At times, it does get to your confidence,” Parrish said. “You know, you sometimes think you’re not good enough, and then, you know, you play in the best conference in the country.”
Funny what one win can do.
“We’re here for a reason,” Parrish said. “Each and every one of us was recruited to play at TCU and in the Big 12 for a reason, because we had a talent and we all had the potential. So it really is all about us just putting it together. Today goes to show we can play with anybody. The second half, that just shows, if we’re ever doubting ourselves, we have this game to think back on.”