TCU has shown a grit and toughness through much of the first month of the season seldom seen from the Horned Frogs in recent years.
Most of the Frogs’ early success has come away from Daniel-Meyer Coliseum, including a 3-0 record in road games with wins at Washington State and Mississippi State.
But now TCU (5-3) is home for a six-game homestand, beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday against UT Pan American. The Frogs don’t go back out on the road again until a Jan. 11 Big 12 game at Baylor.
It’ll have been almost a month since TCU last played at DMC, a seven-point win over Abilene Christian on Nov. 19. That came a week after the Frogs’ 82-79 home loss to Longwood.
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“We have to compete at a high level at home,” coach Trent Johnson said during the Big 12 teleconference Monday. “This basketball team has come a long ways in terms of keeping its poise regardless of who we play.”
TCU was 9-9 at home a year ago, with home conference wins against Kansas and Oklahoma. For the Frogs to make strides in the league in Johnson’s second season, they’ll need to improve at home.
“I’m trying to get to the bottom of it in a hurry,” said Johnson, whose team is 1-1 at DMC this season. “Hopefully, it changes soon. It needs to.”
The toughness they’ve shown on the road so far has helped them hold off rallies when the game was on the line late. A little more of the same at home could result in a very interesting season for the Frogs.
“We’ve competed probably as well and as hard since I’ve been here,” Johnson said. “We showed a little mental toughness and we kept our poise. We’ve got to get some guys healthy. We have to do a better job of competing and playing well at home. Our effort and our energy seems like night and day when we’re on the road compared with at home.”
Price, Fields update
TCU guard Hudson Price practiced Sunday for the first time in more than a week.
Price, who missed several games, first with concussion-like symptoms and then from an illness is day-to-day but could be available Sunday.
“He hasn’t run up and down in probably about three weeks, but he did practice Sunday for about an hour-and-a-half so we’ll see what happens [Monday],” Johnson said.
Amric Fields, who broke his left non-shooting left hand against Harvard on Nov. 30, could be out three to six weeks.
“He’s been unbelievable in terms of his spirit and being a good teammate and cheering for his team,” Johnson said.
Because of injuries, especially to leading scorer Fields, TCU has been forced to find other ways to score.
Different players have stepped up, including Fort Worth Trimble Tech ex Charles Hill, Jr., who scored a career-high 20 points in the win at Mississippi State last week.
“We talked to our guys about being aggressive and if the opportunity presents itself you need to try to make plays,” Johnson said. “The thing I was impressed with is he attacked the basket as opposed to playing the perimeter a lot. In the flow of the game and in the offense he got some opportunities and guys like Kyan [Anderson] and Michael Williams did a good job finding him.”
UT Pan American at TCU
1 p.m. Sunday, Daniel-Meyer Coliseum