When Devonta Abron transferred from Arkansas in May, he figured to be a starter for TCU when the 2012-13 season began.
But the forward, who received an NCAA waiver that cleared him to play without sitting out a season, has yet to start for the Horned Frogs and had struggled through limited minutes in TCU's first three games.
With forward Amric Fields out for the rest of the season because of a knee injury incurred Thursday against SMU, the Frogs need someone, or several someones, to step up and fill the void. It may not be Abron in the long run, but his best game yet as a Frog helped TCU pull away from Prairie View A&M 44-39 Sunday in front of an announced crowd of 3,839 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. It was TCU's first of four games as part of the South Padre Invitational.
Abron scored all of his season-high 10 points and grabbed six of his season-high eight rebounds in the second half as the Frogs (3-1) held off the Panthers (2-3) after taking their first lead, 35-32, with six minutes to go on Kyan Anderson's 3-pointer.
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"I thought he was good throughout," TCU coach Trent Johnson said of Abron. "You could see it in his eyes. There's been a level of frustration because he has a high standard and high expectations, as we do. Sometimes you just have to work through stuff, and he did a good job. When things go bad, you have to work harder."
Abron came up big in the final minutes, too. After Prairie View tied it, Nate Butler Lind hit Anderson under the basket for a reverse layup. After a defensive stop, Anderson zipped a pass to Abron in the paint for a layup and a 39-35 TCU lead with 3:00 remaining.
"I just didn't want to give up on any plays," said Abron, who had two blocks and a steal. "Like Coach says: take no plays off. Play like it's your last game, and play like you're the last man out there so you just have to play hard."
Garlon Green made up for offensive struggles (1 for 6 from the field) with a season-high 10 rebounds. Jarvis Ray led TCU with 13 points.
TCU trailed by 14 early after starting the game 0 for 6 shooting and collecting five turnovers before making its first basket. Prairie View made four of its first five shots but fizzled the rest of the game after TCU switched from a zone defense to man-to-man. The Panthers shot 28.3 percent and made just nine of their last 41 shots in the game. TCU's 44 points are the fewest in a Frogs win since 1983.
"We were getting a lot of open shots; we just have to knock them down," Ray said. "They weren't falling at first but we got in our rhythm, and they started to fall and we started to pull away."
TCU continues tournament play against Navy at 6 p.m. Tuesday at DMC.