Coach: Absence of freshman guard hurt game

The Horned Frogs missed the offensive presence of freshman guard Ronnie Moss in Saturday night’s loss against the University of New Mexico. Moss missed the game because of a violation of team policy.

The good news for the team is that Moss will be eligible to play in Wednesday’s road game against San Diego State University.

The Horned Frogs never led in Saturday’s 69-52 conference loss against the Lobos.

The team went into the game in first place in the Mountain West Conference, but is now left wondering how to correct the mistakes that led to New Mexico’s convincing win.

“This is a team that’s been very, very hot, and we come in here and, I thought, for 40 minutes, did a lot of good things against them,” said New Mexico head coach Steve Alford.

With the loss, the Horned Frogs record now stands at 13-7, with a 4-2 mark in conference play.

The game was a struggle for the Horned Frogs from the start.

Problems on both offense and defense plagued the team early in the first half. The Lobos (12-8, 3-2 MWC) jumped out to an quick 10-point lead nearly 10 minutes into the game after connecting on seven of their first nine shots from the field.

“I give New Mexico all the credit,” TCU head coach Jim Christian said after the game. “They came in, they beat us to every loose ball in the first 10 minutes of the game … we just did not play hard or well all night.”

The Lobos cooled off as the first half progressed, but still hit 12 of 25 shots, including four out of five behind the three-point line.

By comparison, the Horned Frogs, whose halftime deficit of 30-21 was as close as the game would be throughout its remainder, connected on only eight of 21 first-half shot attempts. The team shot poorly from behind the arc as well, connecting on just two of 14 shots by game’s end.

The Lobos went on to shoot 70.6 percent in the second half and led by as many as 20 points late in the game.

The absence of Moss had a noticeable effect on the Horned Frogs’ offense. Turnovers, fouls and general poor play throughout the game gave the team little chance to regain control from the Lobos.

Moss ranks fourth on the team in scoring and is second in assists.

“We need every single player to contribute to be good and not having him hurt,” Christian said.

Junior forward Edvinas Ruzgas, the hero of Wednesday night’s overtime win against the University of Wyoming, was held without a shot in the first half and finished the game with four points in 32 minutes of play.

Senior forward Kevin Langford was the lone bright spot for the Horned Frogs, putting together another solid offensive performance. He led all players with 21 points after coming off a career-high 36-point effort against Wyoming

The Horned Frogs will hit the road to take on conference opponent San Diego State University on Wednesday.