TCU falls late to No. 22 SMU, third ‘quality’ loss for Frogs

It was a loss, one of three by TCU so far in a very young season, but like the other two, Wednesday night’s 75-70 decision against No. 22 SMU at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center came against a quality opponent.

Trent Johnson tries to keep that in mind.

“The encouraging thing is that this is now three teams that we’ve lost to that are very quality basketball teams — postseason teams,” the fourth-year TCU coach said. “South Dakota State, Rhode Island and SMU. We just got to clean some things up, and we’ll be fine. We’ll be fine.”

One of those things to clean up? Rebounding.

SMU outrebounded the Horned Frogs 44-32.

Another? Turnovers.

There were eight for TCU in the second half.

One more? Patience.

The Frogs (3-3) caught themselves taking deep 3 after deep 3 — sometimes that was OK; back-to-back 3-pointers from Malique Trent dug them out of a 60-51 hole in the second half. But for the game, the Frogs were 9-for-27 on 3-pointers, and SMU made them pay in transition off long rebounds.

“We got good shots. We got really good shots,” Johnson said. “We took some bad shots. We took some deep 3s, which were bad shots. But we got the ball where we wanted a lot. I’m not taking anything away from the three teams that have beaten us. I watch a ton of video. The unforced turnovers, some of the careless breakdowns we have, are costing us.”

Nic Moore scored 26 points for SMU (5-0), which scored the final eight points and held TCU scoreless for the last 3:32. Moore’s left-handed layup on a lightning-quick drive from the elbow provided a 74-70 lead with 49 seconds left.

TCU’s Chauncey Collins and Brandon Parrish missed 3-point shots with 22 and 8 seconds left.

“Nic Moore’s a heck of a player, and he shows extreme class, and he plays the game the right way, and they needed all 26 of them to beat us,” Johnson said.

Despite getting outrebounded by so much and getting outscored 24-11 in second-chance points, the Frogs led 70-67 with 3:32 left on Parrish’s floater in the lane.

“That means we’re real close,” said center Karviar Shepherd (8 points, 11 rebounds). “We’re learning. We’re learning quicker than people would think. We’re getting better as a team, and we’re expected to win those games. So we’re going to do whatever it takes to go out and win those games.”

Vladimir Brodziansky, the 6-foot-10 sophomore forward who leads the Horned Frogs in scoring, had 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting. But his last bucket came with 16:43 left in the game, tying the game 44-44, and he had only five points in the second half.

Trent finished with 13 points, and Collins had 12 for TCU, but they were both 4-for-12 from the field.

“Every team we look to play is a good team,” Shepherd said. “We expect their best. They gave us their best.”

Carlos Mendez: 817-390-7760, @calexmendez

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