Team building strength for tourney

The men’s basketball team looks to make progress and finish the back end of the season strong, starting with a showdown with Brigham Young on Saturday at the Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.The game will be a rematch of the team’s Jan. 25 meeting, which saw TCU come up short in overtime 89-80. Since then, the Cougars (17-7) have been playing solid, winning seven of their last eight games.

The same can not be said of the Horned Frogs (5-22), who are currently in the midst of an eight-game losing streak, the longest of head coach Neil Dougherty’s tenure at TCU. Despite the tough stretch of games, Dougherty says his squad is dealing with the adversity admirably.

“It’s been tough, but the team has been tougher,” Dougherty said. “The morale is as good as it can be.”

Injuries have plagued the Horned Frogs for most of the season, and Saturday’s game against BYU will be no exception. Sophomore guard Brent Hackett is currently battling a knee injury, while junior guard Neil P. Dougherty has been kept out of the lineup with strep throat. To compound the problem, both players are TCU point guards.

“I’m not sure who’s bringing the ball up right now,” Dougherty said.

One of the keys for Saturday’s game will be whether the Horned Frogs can contain BYU freshman Trent Plaisted. The first meeting between the two teams in Provo, Utah resulted in a career night for Plaisted, as he recorded career highs in both points (22) and rebounds (16).

“Plaisted is really playing well right now,” Dougherty said. “We have to make sure that Plaisted gets limited touches around the hoop.”

Junior center Femi Ibikunle agrees with Dougherty that the Frogs will have to keep Plaisted in check if they expect to have a chance to win.

“We just have to deny him the ball,” Ibikunle said. “We need to make other people (besides Plaisted) make a play.”

The Frogs will wrap up their regular season by traveling to the University of Nevada at Las Vegas on March 4.