Men win season opener against Centenary Gents

The men’s basketball team is trying to distance itself from the dark memory of last season’s 6-25 record, and with a 72-66 win over the Centenary Gents on Saturday, the Frogs are starting the season off on a winning note.The Frogs set the tone on offense and defense in their season opener with five players scoring in double figures and by holding the Gents to 37 percent shooting.

The Frogs also worked five new players into the rotation, including three players who transferred to TCU: sophomore forward Kevin Langford, junior forward Alvardo Parker and junior guard Ryan Wall.

Langford and Parker combined for 28 points and 14 rebounds to go along with Wall’s 10 points.

Langford, a transfer from California, said he can bring a good inside presence to this year’s team.

“It felt good to get back out there,” Langford said. “I was really anxious. I had most of my family there.”

Junior forward Blake Adams finished with 13 points off the bench, and he said the younger players were a little nervous at first but settled down once the game got going.

“I’m happy we have more scoring,” Adams said. “They came from decent programs, and I played against them in high school. So, I know the type of players they are.”

Head coach Neil Dougherty said he was proud of his team for being able to close out a game in which the tempo favored Centenary.

“I don’t want to play in a game where there’s 60 fouls called,” Dougherty said. “It doesn’t bode well for a transition (offense) team.”

At the end of the first half, returning starters Brent Hackett and Neiman Owens provided easy buckets and rebounds to give the Frogs a 32-31 halftime lead. The junior guards did a little bit of everything as Hackett scored 13 points, while Owens pulled down six rebounds.

The second half featured an increase in physical play from both teams, as well as Centenary moving to a 3-2 zone defense in attempt to stop the Frogs’ inside-outside game.

“We basically just kept running our same zone offense,” Langford said. “It was there every time. We just couldn’t execute.”

A couple of late turnovers cut TCU’s lead to one, but Dougherty said the experience the team has in this type of a game allowed them to close it out.

“Last year, we were in 20-plus of these type of games and didn’t win them,” Dougherty said. “Remembering what we went through last year helps us in situations like this.”

After the game, Dougherty said he constantly reminds his players of one of the lessons he learned while playing for current Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski during his days at Army.

“You forget about the past unless it helps you with your future,” Dougherty said. “Each time we can win and play well, it will separate us from last year.