No. 18 TCU will look to build on its impressive winning streak when it hosts Central Arkansas on Wednesday at Fort Worth, Texas, in its final tune-up before Big 12 play.
The Horned Frogs (10-1) have won eight straight games, most recently a 75-71 victory at Utah on Dec. 21. Emanuel Miller led TCU with season-high 21 points, with Mike Miles Jr. adding 18, Chuck O’Bannon hitting for 10 points and Eddie Lampkin grabbing 10 rebounds.
TCU improved from 20th to No. 18 in the latest poll.
The Horned Frogs were up 35-29 at halftime and never led by more than 10 before Utah rallied to tie the game three times over the middle of the second half. But TCU never surrendered the lead, even though it didn’t make a field goal over the final four minutes of the game.
JaKobe Coles went 6 of 6 from the free-throw line in the final 2:08 to close out the four-point victory.
“Obviously, first half, we set the tone,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. “We were up five, but (Utah) came out as we told (our players it would). They were going to come out, go hit, bang, and go crash the glass. For whatever reason, we just got buried underneath in the second half, and that’s how they came back.”
The Horned Frogs forced Utah into a season-high 19 turnovers (12 of them steals), turned those mistakes into 23 points and won the battle in the paint 46-28. With 10 turnovers, TCU improved to 8-1 on the season when committing 15 or less turnovers.
“That’s where our improvement is this year,” Dixon explained. “We’re forcing more turnovers, getting out in transition because of them. We’re one of the best transition teams in the country as far as transition baskets.”
The Bears (5-7) head to Fort Worth after a 75-66 loss at Little Rock on Dec. 20 and an eight-day break for Christmas. Camren Hunter led Central Arkansas with 17 points, including three 3-pointers, while Collin Cooper added 16 and Eddy Kayouloud, the Bears’ lone senior, scored 15 in the defeat.
“It was really the first half that lost us the game,” Central Arkansas coach Anthony Boone said after the loss. “Even though we came back and got the lead, if we could have controlled the glass in the first half I think we could have built a nice lead. But we just came out and we weren’t tough enough.
“Overall we played pretty good defense and our half-court defense was great at times. We like to switch a lot, and the guys were doing a great job of that, talking, communicating. We just couldn’t finish off our possessions.”
Central Arkansas has dropped three straight games and four of its past five, including setbacks at Oklahoma, Oral Roberts and Loyola Chicago.
The two programs have never met on the basketball court.
–Field Level Media