Frogs grab win in second half

Frogs grab win in second half

The Horned Frogs (10-6, 2-1) and the University of New Mexico Lobos (14-3, 1-2) went down to the final buzzer at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum on Tuesday night. In a close game, a three-pointer with just 1.5 seconds by TCU gave the Frogs a 74-72 win over New Mexico.

In a game in which both teams shot a combined 39 three-pointers, none was bigger than senior guard Ryan Wall‘s final shot.

“The play that coach drew up in the huddle did not call for me to shoot the shot,” Wall said. “I remember thinking, ‘please go in,’ when it left my hand.”

Following a Lobos turnover, the Horned Frogs came out of a timeout ready to run the play drawn up by head coach Neil Dougherty. Without any hesitation, Wall got the ball, made his move and heard the roar of the home crowd as the ball went splash through the net. Wall’s three gave TCU its first lead of the second half, closing the door on New Mexico’s attempt at a conference win on the road.

The game seemed to feature a different Frogs team in each half.

In the first half, TCU had a stretch of almost nine minutes without a field goal and made only eight shots, compared to seven three pointers by New Mexico that propelled them to a 13-point lead.

The second-half Frogs shot 76 percent from the floor, erasing all memory of the poor first.

“We talked more about our defense really at halftime, but when we did talk about our offense, we were being too passive,” Dougherty said. “When we got aggressive we would dribble one too many times and get offensive fouls called on us.”

The Frogs got back into the game when sophomore guard Jason Ebie drained a three-pointer from the corner to tie the game 59-59 with 5:17 left.

The Frogs played a physical game and cut the Lobos’ 13 point half-time lead to eight points halfway through the second.

“In the second half we did a better job of driving the ball into the defense’s soft spot,” Dougherty said. “We had better control and were able to make a run and cut into their lead.”

TCU was able to contain New Mexico’s leading scorer, J.R. Giddens, to just two points on two field-goal attempts in the first half. Giddens stepped up his play in the second and put up seven points in fewer than 10 minutes. He finished with 12 points and shot five of 10 from the field. The Lobos’ senior guard Darren Prentice filled in for Giddens, by shooting five of six from behind the arc in the first half.

“There was some give and take. We were trying to keep the ball away from certain people that we thought could hurt us,” Dougherty said. “A couple of times they got out and got some threes, but we answered quickly. It was not real detrimental.”

Junior guard Henry Salter leads the Horned Frogs with 15.5 points per game and finished the game with 16 points on six-of-10 shooting.

The Horned Frogs did have a three-point advantage after just five minutes of play. TCU’s full-court man and double-team on the ball defensive pressure forced the Lobo’s to rush their first shot attempts and five turnovers.

TCU’s next game is Jan. 19 against Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colo.

As for the team being able to carry momentum into the next game following the game-winning shot, Dougherty said, “I think it is a bigger factor for the fans right now.

“For us, it is a difference of having only one conference loss, instead of two.”