If TCU coach Jamie Dixon had one takeaway from his team’s 82-60 win over Omaha on Thursday night, it involved the defense.
The Horned Frogs held the visiting Mavericks to 39.3 percent shooting on field-goal attempts overall and just 27 second-half points.
TCU (2-0) hosts UT Rio Grande Valley, a 1-1 team coming off a 100-79 loss at South Dakota, on Tuesday night in Fort Worth, Texas.
“Most importantly, I was encouraged by what we did defensively,” Dixon said following the Omaha win. “We tried to tighten up some things ball screen-wise, and I thought we did that. I also thought we rebounded well, and that was an emphasis.”
TCU finished with 52 rebounds to Omaha’s 25, with the Mavericks tallying just five offensive boards.
UTRGV just produced a solid rebounding performance of its own, having grabbed 17 offensive rebounds and 38 total boards against the Coyotes. The Vaqueros lost the rebounding battle by four, but they held their own against their first Division I opponent of the season.
Ahren Freeman came off the UTRGV bench to post a team-high 11 rebounds — to go with his 26 points — in 31 minutes.
With a roster that is finally fully healthy, Dixon is encouraged by what his squad showed in its first two wins. The Horned Frogs enter play Tuesday averaging 95 points per game, and with more depth and key contributors back in the rotation, TCU demonstrated noticeable improvement on defense from game one (a 108-75 rout of Southern) to game two.
“I think we’ve made strides defensively,” Dixon added. “We had generally three guys out pretty much all of September, October and early in August, so we weren’t able to be where I wanted to be defensively. We have to keep growing.”
TCU is led by JaKobe Coles, who is contributing 19 points per game, and Micah Peavy, who averages 15.5 points. Emanuel Miller leads the team with eight rebounds per contest.
UTRGV’s scoring attack is paced by Elijah Elliott, whose average is 22 points per game after he notched 30 against South Dakota. Daylen Williams enters Tuesday’s game with a team-best mark of eight rebounds per game.
–Field Level Media
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