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TCU 360

All TCU. All the time.

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Men’s Basketball – Frogs start season with loss at home

Players and coaches shuffled into the press room after Saturday’s 68-59 loss to Division II Tarleton State, perhaps looking for more answers than the reporters there to ask about TCU’s first home-opener loss in 24 years.TCU fell before a Daniel-Meyer Coliseum crowd that watched the Texans (2-0) dominate the paint in almost every aspect. Tarleton out rebounded an overmatched TCU team 43-29, and Texans forward Mookie Works had more blocks (5) and almost as many rebounds (11) as the entire TCU starting five (0 and 14).

TCU head coach Neil Dougherty said Tarleton did not look like a Division II team.

“I have to give credit to Tarleton, that’s a good basketball team,” Dougherty said. “That team is very athletic.”

Works said the Texans may be Division II, but they still have the heart to beat upper-level teams.

“We have a saying: ‘We’re a team, we’re a family, we believe,'” Works said. “So we kept believing and we kept our heads on straight.”

The Frogs made frequent adjustments on defense, applying a full court press that resulted in 17 first-half Tarleton turnovers, six by guard LaShon Sheffield. Poor TCU offense and timely long-range shooting by the Texans kept Tarleton in the game, and the Frogs finished a frustrating and sloppy first half tied at 33.

Dougherty said the team wasted an opportunity to put the game away early.

“If we had shot well in the first half when we were forcing turnovers, it would’ve been a different game,” Dougherty said.

The Frogs quickly ran into problems in the second half when the referees tightened up the game. TCU was called for several touch fouls on the perimeter, and the officiating crew even cracked down on usually lax carrying and traveling penalties.

Foul trouble forced the Frogs to abandon the full-court pressure and zone defense that was so effective in the first half for a man-to-man tactic that failed to cause turnovers; the Texans only committed seven in the second half.

Four out of the five TCU starters finished the game with four fouls.

Dougherty said the Frogs’ sudden foul trouble hurt their defensive intensity.

“We had to back off some,” Dougherty said. “That changes a lot of what you can do defensively.”

TCU senior guard Nile Murry would not elaborate on the referees’ tightly called game, despite the frustration often evident on the faces of the players on both teams.

“We’re not going to get into the referees,” Murry said. “We just have to play smarter.”

The Frogs stagnant first-half offense turned even worse in the second, as TCU shot a 25.9 percent field goal percentage, 25 percent three-point percentage and 52.9 free throw percentage. Sophomore guard Brent Hackett made one of six attempts and the Frogs missed seven of their final eight overall.

“If we had hit free throws, we’d have still been in the game instead of having to take three-pointers,” Murry said.

TCU’s already thin rotation, which is missing senior forward Chudi Chinweze and junior guard Neil P. Dougherty (both to knee injuries), almost took another hit when Hackett dislocated his shoulder late in the second half. The shoulder came out, but was put back into place, and Hackett played a few more minutes before finishing the game on the bench, coach Dougherty said.

Hackett down played the seriousness of the injury.

“I’m fine. It’ll be fine,” Hackett said. “It’ll just be sore the next day.

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