When things aren’t going your way, every hill becomes a mountain.
For TCU basketball, that means previously struggling Texas Tech coming off a huge upset of No. 12 Baylor.
The Red Raiders didn’t sneak by the Bears on Wednesday, either. They led by 21 at the half and maintained a lead of 10 or more for much of the rest of the game.
The Horned Frogs (9-7, 0-4 in the Big 12), who are still searching for their first league win, are coming off lopsided losses to top 15 teams in Baylor and Oklahoma State. Texas Tech (9-8, 1-3) figured to pose as good an opportunity for TCU. Until Wednesday’s upset, at least. Tech and TCU tip at 5 p.m. Saturday at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
“We just need to play better basketball in all aspects,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said, who correctly identified much of TCU’s 32-point loss to No. 9 OSU as some of the best basketball his team has played in a couple weeks. A poor shooting night, coupled with OSU’s top-tier roster, made the point moot, however.
“We need to shoot the ball better, we need to rebound better, we need to defend better,” said Johnson, who dismissed any notion that his players are pressing. “That’s the only thing we can control: our effort and staying positive.”
TCU’s 0-4 start, including losses to three Top 25 teams, is not surprising, especially when you consider four players are unavailable, including the latest in guard Charles Hill, Jr. The sophomore from Trimble Tech High School will miss the rest of the season because of academic issues.
Still, TCU is healthier than it has been this season, with Amric Fields and Hudson Price slowly getting back into playing shape after missing time with illness and injury. Fields is still unable to practice on a daily basis because of his recent knee surgery. Hill’s absence will force Clyde Smith III, Christian Gore and Price to play bigger roles.
After the Frogs two most recent losses, on the road at top 10 opponents, three freshmen — Brandon Parrish, Karviar Shepherd and Michael Williams — have responded to post-game questions with a matter-of-fact manner that suggests a strong understanding of the program’s long view. Either that, or they’re just young and naive.
“I don’t know if naive is the word but those guys shouldn’t be singled out,” Johnson said. “This whole group has been good. The only guy that’s been through this league that’s playing extensive minutes is Kyan Anderson. All four of those kids (including Price) have a good idea of what good players and good teams are like. But this whole team has done a good job of understanding.”
TEXAS TECH AT TCU
5 p.m. Saturday, Daniel-Meyer Coliseum
Records: TCU 9-7, 0-4 in Big 12; Texas Tech 9-8, 1-3
TV: FSSW; Radio: KLIF/570 AM, KTCU/88.7 FM