TCU men’s basketball steamrolls past ULM to get back on track

TCU+players+look+on+as+head+coach+Jamie+Dixon+draws+up+a+play+vs+Louisiana-Monroe+on+Nov.+17%2C+2022.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+GoFrogs.com%29

TCU players look on as head coach Jamie Dixon draws up a play vs Louisiana-Monroe on Nov. 17, 2022. (Photo courtesy of GoFrogs.com)

By Sederick Oliver, Executive Editor, Image Magazine

No. 15 TCU men’s basketball Frogs (3-1) found its groove, defeating the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks 95-60 in a bounce-back effort on Thursday night at Schollmaier Arena.

Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year guard Mike Miles Jr. missed his second straight game as he continues to nurse an ankle injury suffered in a Nov. 11 matchup against Lamar. Despite sporting a walking boot, Miles Jr. was on the bench engaged and supporting his teammates.

Head coach Jamie Dixon continued to experiment with his guard rotation as he awaits senior guard Damion Baugh’s return from a six-game suspension and Miles Jr.’s recovery from injury. For Thursday’s matchup, senior guard Shahada Wells and junior guard Rondel Walker occupied the starting backcourt, replacing junior guard Micah Peavy.

The Frogs looked like a completely different team than the one that had played the first three games.

Notorious for their slow starts, TCU sprinted out to a 12-2 lead behind a pair of early three-pointers from Wells.

The hot hand was contagious as sophomore forward JaKobe Coles, redshirt senior forward Chuck O’Bannon Jr., and Walker all chipped in with threes made.

The Frogs shot 7-for-11 from three in the first half and 58 percent from the field overall.

The 64 percent from three was a stark contrast and improvement from the 19 percent they were shooting coming into the game.

The confidence that their efficient offense provided was able to boost their defense as ULM struggled to score and shoot the ball.

“The intensity we had on defense played a big role on why our offense was so good today, I think everything tied together well,” said Coles.

TCU held the Warhawks to just 28 percent shooting from the field, causing frustration within ULM.

This resulted in the ejection of O’Bannon Jr. as he engaged in a shoving match with Warhawks guard Savion Gallion right before halftime.

Despite the unpopular call, the Frogs went into halftime with a 53-26 halftime lead.

The second half saw much of the same, as TCU continued to move the ball and find easy looks. The team had a season-high 22 assists on 34 made baskets, demonstrating a selfless brand of basketball.

Senior forward Emanuel Miller, Peavy, and O’Bannon Jr. all scored in double figures with 16, 12, and 11 respectively.

However, it was Coles that scored a career-high 15 points on 6-for-11 shooting from the field and 2-for-4 from three.

“JaKobe Coles stepped up big time,” said Miller. “This time last year JaKobe wasn’t playing as much, but you can see the work he’s put in this summer, you can see the effort and energy he brings to the team.”

TCU also shot 17-for-19 from the free throw line, which head coach Jamie Dixon mentioned he was most proud of when asked postgame.

Defensively, the Frogs gave ULM trouble all game long forcing the Warhawks to shoot just 30 percent from the field and 6-for-21 from three.

The off-ball activity for the Frogs paid dividends, shown by the nine steals and 10 blocks for the game, collectively disrupting anything ULM tried to get into offensively.

Micah Peavy channeled his inner Michael Jordan when describing what sparked TCU’s defensive mentality.

“Coaches challenged us, they were talking about how our defense wasn’t like it was last year, so I think we took that personal and we showed that today by just diving on the floors, getting our first charge of the season.”

Freshman guard PJ Haggerty continued to impress with 8 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists in 21 minutes.

After playing just eight minutes last game, Dixon cited his trust with Haggerty as the reason for his increased minutes, promising the freshman more playing time after Monday’s loss to Northwestern State.

UP NEXT

The Frogs will now look to build from this commanding victory as they travel to Florida to battle California (0-3) in the Emerald Coast Classic on Nov. 25.

Tip-off is at 8:30 pm on CBS Sports Network.