TCU

TCU still hangs hat on defense despite slow start in Big 12

TCU forward Brandon Parrish blocks a layup attempt by Baylor guard Kenny Chery during the teams’ meeting Jan. 10. Baylor won 66-59 in overtime.
TCU forward Brandon Parrish blocks a layup attempt by Baylor guard Kenny Chery during the teams’ meeting Jan. 10. Baylor won 66-59 in overtime. AP

For all their troubles in a 1-7 start to the Big 12 schedule, the TCU men remain one of the best defensive teams in the conference.

They rank fourth in field-goal defense, first in 3-point defense and fourth in rebounding in Big 12 games.

As a result, defense remains the Frogs’ identity as they go into Wednesday’s game at No. 19 Baylor (16-5, 4-4 Big 12), an opponent that needs no convincing about the Horned Frogs’ ability.

“Defensively, they did a great job on us, and we didn’t shoot a very high percentage,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said of the Jan. 10 meeting between the teams, a 66-59 Baylor victory in overtime in Fort Worth. “I know statistically, our assist-to-turnover ratio was one of our worst all season long against them because of their defense.”

Baylor had five assists and 12 turnovers in the game and shot 29.8 percent.

Twice this year, TCU (14-7, 1-7) has held a Big 12 opponent under 30 percent. Texas Tech managed to hit just 22.9 percent of its shots in a 62-42 loss to the Horned Frogs.

But over the past four games, Texas, West Virginia, Kansas and Iowa State have all shot better than 40 percent against TCU.

Iowa State hit 56.4 percent Saturday in a 83-66 victory in Ames, the best performance by a TCU opponent this season.

“I wish we would have been able to play better, but that had a lot to do with them as opposed to us,” Johnson said. “They’re really good. They put a lot of pressure on you because they’re really skilled. They pass and catch from about nine or 10 guys.”

Baylor will be eager for a better performance than in that first game against TCU. Johnson knows what to expect, considering both teams rank near the top in rebounding and offensive rebounding.

“They play with a lot of mental toughness, their zone causes a lot of problems, and obviously, they’re probably one of the better teams, if not the best rebounding team in the country, let alone our league,” Johnson said. “They just do a really, really good job of understanding their role, playing within themselves. They can play fast, they can play slow. They’re really good and playing really well right now.”

Carlos Mendez

817-390-7407

Twitter: @calexmendez

TCU men at No. 19 Baylor

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, ESPNews

Records: TCU 14-7, 1-7 Big 12; Baylor 16-5, 4-4

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