Noi is still dealing with a left ankle injury, wearing a walking boot during Saturday’s game, and is expected to be a game-time decision Monday. But he made the trip to Sillwater, Oklahoma, and hasn’t been ruled out yet.
If Noi isn’t able to go, expect TCU (17-8, 5-7 Big 12) to start freshman sensation Kendric Davis for the second consecutive game. This is close to a must-win game for TCU as its now two games below .500 in conference play, and Oklahoma State (9-16, 2-10) is on a five-game losing streak.
“We’ve got to go get Monday,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said after Saturday’s game. “That’s what I said to the guys. We didn’t play well, but we have to play well Monday.”
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It won’t be easy if Noi is still sidelined.
Noi is TCU’s second-leading scorer at 14.8 points. He’s scored double figures in 18 of 20 games played this season.
His teammates acknowledged his absence affected the offensive production against OU. The Frogs had one of their worst shooting games, 35.4 percent, and threw up a season-high 32 3-point attempts.
Asked about the offensive flow, senior forward JD Miller said: “It wasn’t flowing bad, but we did miss Kouat’s shots out there. We tried to have other players step up and get the shots down the stretch. It just didn’t work out like we wanted it to.”
Outside of Noi’s offensive ability, it’s becoming a numbers game for TCU too. The Frogs have lost five players from their opening day roster to either transfers and/or injuries (Jaylen Fisher, Lat Mayen, Yuat Alok, Angus McWilliam and Kaden Archie).
With Noi out, that leaves TCU with seven scholarship players (excluding walk-on Owen Aschieris who is on scholarship this semester). The Frogs had four players on the floor for 33 minutes or longer against the Sooners, and two more play at least 26 minutes.
Miller played a season-high 38 minutes, and freshman R.J. Nembhard played his most minutes (26) in the past 10 games.
Miller and Davis mentioned the toll the extended minutes takes on their bodies, especially at this point in the season.
“It was hard on our bodies. We’re playing a lot of minutes,” Miller said. “We’ve just got to keep fighting. We ain’t got that long left.”
TCU and Oklahoma State are meeting just 12 days after the Frogs won at home on a buzzer-beater by Miller.
TCU junior guard Desmond Bane had 26 points in the first meeting against Oklahoma State. Bane had just eight points on 3-of-12 shooting against OU on Saturday.
TCU is 2-11 all-time in Stillwater with its only wins coming in 1925 and last season.