It’s too early for compliments from coach Trent Johnson, TCU guard Kyan Anderson figures.
But the Horned Frogs look deserving of a verbal high-five after improving to 2-0 with another dominating win, this time 81-54 against Washington State on Monday night.
“It’s going to take more than that,” Anderson said, laughing. “I don’t know what. It’s going to take more to get multiple compliments out of him.”
Anderson hit a game-opening 3-pointer and had 16 points, six assists and four steals to pace the Horned Frogs, who led 14-0 on the way to a 45-26 lead at the break.
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Center Karviar Shepherd had eight points, nine rebounds and four assists, reserve guard Chauncey Collins added 10 points and reserve forward Kenrich Williams had nine points and a team-high 10 boards.
The Frogs collected 18 assists against nine turnovers, shot 47.4 percent in the first half, went 8 for 16 from the 3-point line and led by 33 midway through the second half.
All in all, it was worth a nice word. Johnson obliged.
“I thought we played well,” he said, unprompted in his postgame remarks. “Everybody that had an opportunity to play was ready to play and play well. They played extremely hard and played well. I’m happy for them. It’s been a long time coming.”
But slow down.
The Horned Frogs may be 2-0 and smelling rosy, but Johnson believes that’s where they should be.
“What I let them know is what went on right now is what’s been expected of them,” he said. “But I don’t really have to tell them that. This is a different group, and I think Trey Zeigler said it at media day — in that locker room, they believe they can be a good basketball team, they believe they can play with some consistency versus good teams.
“That has nothing to do with what I talk about or what we talk about as a staff. They believe that, and that’s the most important thing.”
That belief may spring from practice. Last year, the team could hardly hold competitive practices because of injuries and lack of numbers. Anderson said that has changed quickly this year.
“Practice is showing us more than what we’re getting out of the games, intensity-wise,” he said. “So we’re confident from that standpoint. And defense and defensive rebounding is looking a lot better.
“The intensity in practice from this point to where it was last year is a whole lot different. That’s exactly where it starts — in practice.”
It paid off in a good start against winless Washington State (0-2), which started its season in El Paso four days ago against UTEP.
Anderson started the scoring with a 3-pointer as the Horned Frogs scored the game’s first 14 points, hitting seven of their first nine shots.
Washington State stopped the run there, but Brandon Parrish followed with a 3-pointer for a 17-2 lead.
The game got as close as 21-14, but Williams’ layup, defensive rebound, offensive rebound and putback made it 26-15, and the lead stayed in double digits for the rest of the game.
Collins’ 3-pointer put the lead at 63-37 with 13 minutes left, and Christian Gore’s 3 made it 66-39. A Collins layup, steal and layup provided the game’s biggest lead at 72-39 with 9:35 left.
So that’s wins by 17 and 27 points, two games without trailing at any point, fifty rebounds in one game and 45 in the other.
Enough to make Johnson happy?
“If it is, he won’t show it until later on,” Anderson said, smiling. “It’s too early right now to call anything.”
Oh well. It will be later soon enough.