After getting past ninth-ranked Oklahoma on Wednesday, another Top 25 duel awaits TCU as No. 2 Houston makes the trip north for Big 12 action on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Cougars (14-1, 1-1 Big 12) were victims of an upset on Wednesday night, falling to Iowa State 57-53 on the road as Houston’s perfect record was erased.
Iowa State outscored Houston 31-21 in the first half, with the Cougars’ second-half rally falling short in the closing minutes. Notably, Houston shot just 26.9 percent from 3-point range and tallied just two fast-break points in the defeat.
“I don’t know if it was as much Iowa State as it was us,” Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said when asked about the first-half struggles. “I don’t know what it was. I wish I did.”
TCU (12-3, 1-1) enters the conference tilt riding high, having bounced back from a disappointing road defeat at Kansas with a convincing 80-71 win over Oklahoma.
Saturday marks the second straight week in which the Horned Frogs have battled the nation’s No. 2 team. But unlike the loss to Kansas, this matchup will be played on their home court, where TCU is 8-0 this season.
“After the tough loss the other day, we really, really made a concerted effort immediately after the game to be focused on Oklahoma,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said after Wednesday’s win. “Our guys handled it well, and they’re smart. They knew it was a trap to fall into to keep talking about the last game.”
Rebounding remains a focus for the Horned Frogs heading into Saturday, especially after Oklahoma won the battle on the boards, 38-35. TCU was also outrebounded against Kansas, 40-28, which explains Dixon’s focus on the topic over the last week.
“We got the rebounding turned in the second half, and outrebounded them by eight,” Dixon added. “Still didn’t win that battle. I’m a little concerned about that, rebounding-wise. But we’re a low-turnover team and we really emphasized that. So if you have seven turnovers and force 14 (against Oklahoma), that’s where you can make up the difference.”
Turnovers were a source of struggle for Houston at Iowa State, as the Cougars turned the ball over 16 times, leading to 17 of the Cyclones’ points. Twelve of those turnovers came in the first half, though Sampson responded with a firm “no” when asked if the game went too fast for his squad in the first half. That is certainly an area in which Houston seeks improvement.
LJ Cryer leads the Houston offense, averaging 31.0 minutes and 16.3 points per contest. Jamal Shead is also a key cog on the offensive end, with a team-high 6.0 assists per game while averaging 27.5 minutes.
As a team, Houston finds plenty of strength in its defense. It leads all of Division I in points allowed (50.3 ppg) and opponents’ shooting percentage (34.6 percent).
Emanuel Miller is the centerpiece of TCU’s scoring attack, at 17.0 points per game, and comes off a 27-point performance against Oklahoma. His 6.1 rebounds per contest also lead the team, with JaKobe Coles just behind at 11.4 points and 5.4 boards per game.
A high-scoring squad, TCU averages 85.1 points per game and is shooting 49.3 percent from the field.
–Field Level Media
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