It didn’t take Desmond Bane long on Monday to match his career high for points at TCU.
Just one half against Tennessee Tech.
His fifth 3-pointer had him at 19 points six seconds before halftime.
By the time TCU wrapped up a 100-63 cruise against Tennessee Tech, he had 24 points in 25 minutes. He made 6 of 10 shots from 3-point range and didn’t play the final 14:30.
“Last year I had a few games like this,” he said. “This is probably the best game I’ve had since I’ve been here.”
And yet he doesn’t expect a repeat anytime soon. Not on this team, which produced five double-digit scorers on Monday night and four in the season opener Friday night.
“Nothing’s changed,” Bane said. “We love to share the ball. Everybody can score. It’s going to be different guys on different nights.”
Just three nights earlier, in the season opener, Bane laid on the court at Schollmaier Arena, his right leg in pain, as everyone wondered, “Is this bad news?”
It wasn’t. Just a leg cramp.
“I had been sick early in the week, so I hadn’t been eating and drinking like I should,” he said.
He had returned to the game just fine.
There could hardly have been better news for coach Jamie Dixon and the Horned Frogs that night.
He has proven mighty valuable.
Bane, a sophomore from Richmond, Ind., who was Dixon’s next-to-last addition to his first recruiting class, made three free throws that helped TCU upset No. 1 Kansas in the Big 12 tournament. Then he wound up starting the final four games in the Frogs’ NIT championship run last year.
Playing in place of Jaylen Fisher (the first recruit Dixon signed at TCU), who broke his wrist in the NIT opener, Bane scored 13 points in his first two NIT games as a starter and averaged nine points in the five games.
His sophomore season is young, but off to a flying start on offense.
Bane scored 12 in the season opener last week against ULM. In two games, he has averaged 18 points in 27 minutes.
“He’s getting wide-open looks,” Dixon said. “That’s the thing in our offense that is really good. We space the floor. Defenses will become bigger, stronger as we go forward. A lot of those things is just passing, the delivery, the spacing.”
Last summer, Bane went to camp with the Under-19 Team USA World Cup Team. He didn’t make the roster, but his experience proved valuable.
It’s already showing.
“Desmond’s good,” Dixon said. “What is good about him is how much he’s improved from last year to this year. I think the USA basketball thing was a big confidence-booster. He’s so much better off the dribble. And our guys have so much confidence in him. We thought he was going to be a good player, but I think he’s certainly elevated himself to beyond that.”