TCU men’s basketball struggles without Miles Jr., loses to Northwestern State

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By Sederick Oliver, Executive Editor, Image Magazine

After starting the season with two victories, No. 15 TCU men’s basketball lost to the Northwestern State Demons on Monday night, 64-63 at Schollmaier Arena.

Star junior guard Mike Miles Jr. was out of the lineup with a bone bruise; however, he was still present on the bench supporting his teammates.

The Frogs were also without senior guard Damion Baugh who is now serving a six-game suspension imposed by the NCAA for signing with an NBA certified agent after last season. After Monday’s game, Baugh will have three games left and will presumably return for TCU’s game against Providence on Nov. 30.

After junior guard Rondel Walker started last game alongside Miles Jr., senior guard Shahada Wells and junior guard Micah Peavy made up the starting backcourt rounding out a starting five that included the usuals: senior forward Emanuel Miller, redshirt senior forward Chuck O’Bannon Jr. and big man sophomore center Eddie Lampkin Jr.

The Frogs got off to another sluggish start as they struggled to find any offensive rhythm against NSU’s zone defense.

Shooting just 31% from the field in the first half, TCU stumbled out of the gate allowing a 1-2 Northwestern State team to stay in the game.

The Frogs went into halftime with a 31-29 lead.

Another glaring weakness for TCU that seems to carry on from game to game is the three-point shooting. The team missed its first 11 threes until O’Bannon Jr. drained their first and Walker shortly followed with a second.

Those were the team’s only two made threes.

They shot just 2-for-21 from three.

In three games, TCU has started the season shooting 14-for-74 from three – an overall 19%.

“We’re going to work harder at it, we’re going to put more time in on it,” said head coach Jamie Dixon. “I think some of it has to do with shot selection, our offense has to get us better shots.”

The second half saw TCU score with more fluidity and regularity, but their defense started to crumble as NSU also started to score with ease.

After a tightly-contested second half that saw NSU fight its way back from a 10-point deficit, Lampkin Jr. scored on a tip-in that gave the Frogs a 63-62 lead.

NSU guard Demarcus Sharp made a midrange jumper that put his team back up by one with 1:12 left to go.

After multiple defensive stops from both teams, TCU, still trailing by one, now had possession and took a timeout with 6.6 seconds left to go.

An O’Bannon Jr. three-point miss at the buzzer silenced Schollmaier. The only noise came from the screams and jubilation from the players and coaches of NSU.

The realization of upsetting the No. 15 ranked TCU Horned Frogs had sunk in.

The NSU starting backcourt Ja’Monta Black and Demarcus Sharp combined for 44 points, with Black going 7-for-13 from three and single handedly outshooting the Frogs.

“Give credit to Northwestern State… their guards outplayed ours, but we’re just not playing as well as we thought we’d be playing,” said Dixon.

Dixon took accountability for some of the team’s shortcomings, citing a lack of preparation on his end and clarity regarding the roles of certain players.

“I think we’re being challenged right now,” said Emanuel Miller. “Our program is being challenged and this challenge could either project us to go in the right way or the bad way.”

Considering the team is only three games and had to play without Baugh and Miles Jr., Miller is still optimistic TCU can work through its struggles and find success.

“I still think from the bottom of my heart that this team cares, I know the coaches care, I know every single player in this program cares, and I know we’re going to get this figured out,” said Miller.

Up next

Now 2-1, TCU looks to regroup and add to the win column as they face the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (2-1) on Nov. 17 at Schollmaier Arena to end its four game home-stand to start the season. The Warhawks are coming off of a dominant 105-56 victory over Central Baptist.

Tip-off is at 7 p.m. on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

ICYMI: TCU basketball secures win over Lamar

On Friday night, No. 14 TCU men’s basketball defeated the Lamar Cardinals 77-66 at Schollmaier Arena to improve to 2-0 on the season.

Guard Mike Miles Jr., who was recently named a Preseason All-American by Sporting News, led the team with a game-high 26 points. It was his highest point total since scoring 26 against Texas Tech last season, his sixth straight game in double-figures, and his 13th career game with 20 or more points.

The victory came on the same day of the unveiling of a statue for Dr. James Cash, TCU’s first black student-athlete and the first black basketball player in the Southwest Conference.

Dr. James Cash at TCU vs. Lamar men’s basketball game at Schollmaier Arena on Nov. 11, 2022. (Photo courtesy of GoFrogs.com)

“That was surreal… the first black person that paved the way, without [Cash], I’m not sitting here talking to you right now,” said forward Emanuel Miller. “Without him, we’re not competing on the floor tonight and without him, a lot of young black students and athletes wouldn’t be attending Texas Christian University.

The Frogs were able to neutralize Lamar offensively, causing them to shoot just 39 percent from the field and 24 percent from three.

Lamar only led for 19 seconds, showcasing TCU’s improved defensive mentality fresh off of their win against Arkansas-Pine Bluff where they trailed by as much as 20.

Defensively, forward Chuck O’Bannon Jr. and guard Micah Peavy were standouts as O’Bannon Jr. had a career-high three blocks, and Peavy contributed with 2 steals and 2 blocks.

After cramping towards the end of last game, Miles Jr. had to leave the game for several minor injury concerns. The first was a twisted ankle, while the second was an accidental elbow to the face by teammate Peavy, resulting in blood all over the baseline.

He was able to return to the game following both incidents.

“Play through it and be tough, that’s all I can do,” said Miles Jr.

Miller and guard Shahada Wells scored in double figures and both tied for a game-high six assists, a new career high for Miller.

After starting the last game, Wells came off the bench as guard Rondel Walker replaced Wells as head coach Jamie Dixon continued to experiment with rotations amidst Baugh’s absence.

With the status of Baugh’s suspension appeal still in question, Dixon expressed some optimism moving forward.

“I will say, the news is getting better,” Dixon said, when asked about Baugh’s status.

After feeling unsatisfied with the team’s performance following their victory over APB, Miles Jr. believes there’s still room to grow as the Frogs play through newfound expectations.

“We still didn’t play our best game, but I feel like we came out with a little bit more intensity… better than last game,” said Miles Jr.

“We just have to keep improving, come in practice, work hard, and get ready for Monday.”